Interviews

Bush Backs Anna!

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," December 27, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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JOHN KASICH, GUEST HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight, a very unlikely legal pairing, to say the least. The Bush administration's top lawyer has filed a brief on behalf of former "Playboy" playmate Anna Nicole Smith.

As you may know, Miss Smith is headed to the high court in February over her late husband's multimillion-dollar oil fortune. She was 26 years old when she married 89-year-old Jay Howard Marshall III in 1994. He died a year later. And his money has been at the center of a bitter battle ever since.

Joining us now from our New York studios is FOX News legal analyst, Arthur Aidala.

Mr. Aidala, why is the Bush administration throwing in with Anna Nicole Smith?

ARTHUR AIDALA, FOX NEWS LEGAL ANALYST: Technically, it's just a bunch of legal infighting. It's the Bush administration trying to make sure that the federal government has its long arms able to reach into all different aspects of the law.

Particularly, this is a state issue regarding the — the testament, the will, and the trust and all of that. That's already in Texas state court, and they've been fighting it out in Texas state court. While that was going on, Anna Nicole Smith files for bankruptcy in federal court, saying she has no money to pay all these bills.

KASICH: In California.

AIDALA: In California.

KASICH: She's not even in Texas.

AIDALA: Correct, because that's where she's living. And when she got all these bills, he's dead. She's not getting any money.

While she's in federal court, in bankruptcy court, the son who's going to be the heir goes in and says, "Hey, listen, bankruptcy court, if you're going to distribute her money, you better save some for me, because I'm bringing a defamation suit against her because she's saying all these nasty things about me."

KASICH: Right. And then the bankruptcy judge — let me cut to the chase. Then the bankruptcy court judge in California slaps the son down and awards her $400 million. And then it goes to an appeals court or in a federal district court. They go, "Oh, no, not $400 million. $87 million."

And then the Ninth Circuit finally makes a good decision and says she shouldn't get anything.

AIDALA: And it all has to do with jurisdiction.

KASICH: Now let me ask you this.

AIDALA: OK.

KASICH: Why is the Bush administration messing around in a state probate affair? You know, I mean, here you've got the state of Texas saying, "Come on. This 89-year-old man married this 26-year-old woman."

AIDALA: Right.

KASICH: There's no will. And here you've got George Bush and the federal government in the middle of this.

AIDALA: Well, as complicated as all of this is, and it is very complicated, what it really comes down to is the Bush administration wants to make sure that, even in these probate proceedings, if there are any United States tax issues, if there's big taxes that are owed on an estate, that the United States of America, that government has an ability to reach into the probate and...

KASICH: Come on. That's...

AIDALA: But that's what the issue is.

KASICH: Art, I mean, come on. When does the federal government have trouble collecting its taxes? They throw people in jail.

AIDALA: You're absolutely correct. However...

KASICH: We have to put in a taxpayers' bill of rights. What's they're doing is...

AIDALA: There's something called a probate exception.

KASICH: Look at this. OK. Here you've got an 89-year-old man who lives in Texas, right? He hooks up with a 26-year-old woman.

AIDALA: And he's very happy with that. He's very happy with that hook-up.

KASICH: And she's claiming — and the courts are ruling she gets $400 million. And she's going to court to defend that, and Bush is in there with her. I don't get it.

AIDALA: The reason why she was awarded $400 million is that court found that the son was involved in fraud, and that the father really did want to give Anna Nicole Smith money.

KASICH: Fraud in what way, Arthur?

AIDALA: Fraud that they gave him — they slipped documents under the old man's nose and said, "Oh, just sign this." And he didn't know what it was that he was signing. And what he was signing...

KASICH: Arthur, Arthur...

AIDALA: OK.

KASICH: ... if your father, who is 89 years old, OK?

AIDALA: Go ahead.

KASICH: He has this girlfriend, this topless stripper, right?

AIDALA: Who makes him very happy and lives five more years. Go ahead. Go ahead.

KASICH: And all of his money goes to her and ruled by a federal judge in California, what are you going to do?

AIDALA: Half. Half of his money. Half of his money. I would like to think that I would not engage in fraud or do anything illegal.

But just so that you know why Bush is involved, he just wants to make sure that if these topics come up in the future and the United States government is a party to any kind of probate proceeding, they have the ability to go in there and interact and be part of the game.

Because the Ninth Circuit has said no, you shouldn't be part of the game. This is something that's just involving the states. You're out.

KASICH: All right. You know what? Frankly, the Republicans went into power saying, "We want things to be decided locally." Now they're saying they want the federal courts involved in reading wills and determining the states.

AIDALA: That I agree with you 1,000 percent. However, and you know me, it's always about the almighty dollar. It is the United States of America. It's all about collecting taxes. And that's really what this has to do with. It doesn't have to do with does he want to give her the money? It doesn't even have to do with Anna Nicole Smith.

KASICH: I got you.

AIDALA: It's all procedural technical stuff for the future. It's all about precedents.

KASICH: Arthur, Arthur, do you want to know the definition of chaos? The day she walks into that Supreme Court. She'll have more cameras on her than Bush will have when he delivers the State of the Union. Thanks for being with us, Arthur.

AIDALA: But she deserves the money. She made him happy and made him live a longer life.

KASICH: Yes, one more year. Thanks, Arthur.

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