NASSAU, Bahamas – The Bahamas immigration minister denied that his friendship with Anna Nicole Smith influenced his decision to grant her residency, and his political allies lent him their support Tuesday after photographs showed the pair on a bed.
The main opposition party has called for an investigation into the process that granted permanent residency to the former Playboy Playmate after The Tribune of Nassau published front page photos of Smith embracing Immigration Minister Shane Gibson in a bed, both fully clothed. Gibson had approved Smith's residency application.
But Cabinet members from Gibson's ruling Progressive Liberal Party expressed support for him as they entered a white-columned government building for a weekly meeting.
"Nothing ought to happen unless there is some evidence of illegal improprieties," said Marcus Bethel, minister of energy and the environment. With general elections this spring, other ministers said attacks on Gibson were politically motivated.
Gibson, who denied in a televised statement that his friendship with Smith influenced her application, walked past reporters without commenting.
The images, published Monday, show the pair embracing on a bed decorated with pink flowers and a white ribbon. In one, they look into each other's eyes, their faces only inches apart.
The two photographs were allegedly taken from a computer stolen from Smith's waterfront residence, according to Howard K. Stern, her partner. He told "Entertainment Tonight" that he had photographed the pair.
Also Tuesday, a judge issued an injunction to prevent Smith's 5-month-old daughter, Dannielynn Hope Marshall Stern, from leaving the island chain, according to Wayne Munroe, an attorney for Smith's estate in the Bahamas. He said he had not yet seen the court papers.
The hearing was attended by Smith's estranged mother, Vergie Arthur, who arrived in the Bahamas a day after her daughter was found unconscious in a Florida hotel room Thursday. Arthur told authorities she wanted to check on the welfare of her granddaughter.
Stern returned to the Bahamas over the weekend from Florida, and he has been living with Dannielynn in the waterfront mansion that he shared with Anna Nicole. He has said Smith despised her mother and he would never allow Arthur to meet her granddaughter.
A birth certificate lists Stern as the father, but two other men have also claimed paternity.
One priority for Stern at the moment is pursing a robbery complaint filed with police, according to Wayne Munroe, an attorney for Smith. Stern said items missing from the house included Dannielynn's birth certificate, home videos and a DVD of Smith's latest film, "Illegal Aliens."
Smith claimed ownership of the $900,000 house as the basis for her residency application, but the government opened an inquiry after G. Ben Thompson, a South Carolina developer who briefly dated the former reality show star, said the house belonged to him. Smith claimed the house was given to her as a gift, but Thompson said she did not honor an agreement to pay the mortgage.
Thompson's son-in-law, Ford Shelley, went to the house Friday before Stern arrived. He said a refrigerator in Smith's bedroom contained a bottle of methadone -- one of the drugs that a private examiner said contributed to the death of her son Daniel. The 20-year-old died while visiting his mother and newborn half-sister in a Bahamas hospital in September.
Methadone is similar to morphine and is most widely used to treat severe pain. The drug also is used in the treatment of heroin addiction.
Shelley declined comment on the alleged burglary.
Larry Birkhead, a former boyfriend of Smith who has filed a lawsuit claiming he is Dannielynn's father, was reportedly planning to travel to the Bahamas to pursue his claim.
Prince Frederic von Anhalt, the husband of the actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, has said he had a decade-long affair with Smith and may be the father. He said Monday he plans to file a paternity challenge in court and wants a DNA test.
Since the death in 1995 of her 90-year-old husband, Texas oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II, Smith had been waging a court battle over his estate.