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Hannity

Mystery Deepens Over Death of Anna Nicole Smith's Son

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," September 13, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: The chief inspector of the Bahama coroner's office called the death of the son of reality TV star, former Playboy playmate Anna Nicole Smith suspicious.

Joining us now, Anna Nicole's former makeup artist, Holly Pergola; former New York Daily News gossip columnist A.J. Benza; and the news and style editor of at large — at large, I should say — Star magazine, Jill Dobson. We welcome you all.

Holly, you've clearly had personal contact with Anna Nicole Smith. What — any light you can shed on this? What do you think is going on here?

HOLLY PERGOLA, SMITH'S MAKEUP ARTIST: I don't know. When I worked on the show, I worked on the reality show, season two. She was very worried about her son all the time. Very nice to him. Was always making sure he was OK. When we had a huge crew in the house all the time, you know, that was her main focus. She was always having people check on him.

COLMES: What was she worried about?

PERGOLA: I mean, just making sure he was getting — if he was hungry, if we were being too loud. She was always just very considerate of him.

COLMES: A.J., what do you think is going on here?

A.J. BENZA, FORMER GOSSIP COLUMNIST: I think the kid died of a drug overdose.

COLMES: They denied that.

BENZA: I don't care. I think you'll find out a month or two from now that they found something in his system, probably see it in the small print later on. Jill Dobson would know more than I do.

But what I want to say is, you know, when I was a little whippersnapper, I saw my mother come out of the shower one time naked, and I almost killed myself from that.

Now not to make light of the situation, but this kid has seen his mother naked since he's 8 or 9 years old. He has then seen his mother drunk in public, constantly fighting a drug battle. Then she tries to get him a 100-year-old stepdad. Do you think this is a reason somebody might want to self-medicate themselves?

COLMES: Jill, A.J. says you know more than he does. Anything you can add to this and shed some light on this deepening mystery?

JILL DOBSON, STAR MAGAZINE: You know, we've heard all sorts of reports. And the most interesting thing is that it's being called suspicious. But then, on the other side, the coroner's office in the Bahamas is saying, well, that doesn't necessarily mean foul play. So we're hearing it's not foul play.

COLMES: Well, he initially denied drugs and alcohol, right?

DOBSON: Right. Howard K. Stern, Anna Nicole's lawyer, says it's not drugs or alcohol. And the coroner's office says they may not release the autopsy results to the public, that it will be up to Anna Nicole.

They also said they'll be doing an investigation in October. So maybe that investigation will shed light on it, and maybe they'll share that with us. But there are a lot of questions here.

COLMES: A.J., this happened in a hospital room, and there was a third person present. The third person's identity has not been revealed, although the coroner said they knew who it was. That's odd in itself, the location of this.

BENZA: You know, you can be — there are some old people who are dying who call 411 by accident and get saved, and they're in homes. How do you — I don't know how he died in a hospital. It's so tragic.

And not to make light of this, because I'm a parent myself. But, you know, what her makeup artist, Holly, was saying earlier, that Anna always wanted to make sure her son was OK.

On the flip side, she never made sure she was OK. And that's part of being a parent, too. You can't just find out if your son is hungry. You have to find out if you're OK and you're healthy and willing to take care of your son.

COLMES: By the way, it's Howard K. Stern, who it was revealed was in the room at that time. Are you saying she's a little bit overprotective, Holly, in what you observed as a parent?

PERGOLA: She was very protective. I mean, you know, he was in — obviously, it was a strange situation for him, having a reality show shot in his own house, where he lived. So she was just very worried and always wanted to make sure he was OK, pretty much. She was very protective.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Hey, Holly, good to see you again, by the way. Thanks for being with us.

PERGOLA: Hi, Sean, how are you?

HANNITY: I'm good. Good to see you.

Let me ask a little bit about what A.J. is saying here. Look at the environment in which this kid grew up. From what we read, what we're told, the example is not the perfect example for any kid to grow up. You've got to be a little suspicious in these matters.

PERGOLA: Well, it's a very sad case, of course, and we don't want to point the finger of blame. On the other hand, Anna Nicole has been apparently under the influence of drugs many times in public throughout that entire show that she had.

HANNITY: Sure.

PERGOLA: So it seems like a household where drugs may have been present. But again, we don't want to point the finger of blame. But the coroner has said the death was due to unnatural causes. So it certainly raises a lot of questions. I'm sure that's what everyone was thinking.

HANNITY: Even though there was the initial denial or some conflicting reports on that, A.J. It's got to be the top suspicion. Otherwise, what...

BENZA: When I was a journalist there were always denials, denials, denials. Even your network today is talking about Whitney and Bobby breaking up. They've denied that for 100 years.

In this particular environment, it would be natural causes if Anna died of a drug overdose. Because she naturally went to drugs and alcohol. Her son, it's not natural. But that's not to say it wasn't a cry for help that went terribly wrong on your part.

HANNITY: But, Jill, this is what you do. You report on these stars all the time. They never tell you the truth when there's something negative, right? Or they're constantly trying to spin you and tell you that it's something that it's really not. Right?

DOBSON: That's very true. I mean, publicists will say that a couple is not even together and the next day they'll be married. Very often, they're...

HANNITY: So in other words they lie.

DOBSON: Right. They do. They lie all the time. And that's why you've got to read your Star magazine, I guess, to find out what's really going on.

BENZA: They're not press agents so much as they're suppress agents.

HANNITY: Well, that's probably a good point, A.J.

Holly, I just want to get a little bit deeper into your knowledge and your understanding of her in particular. Did you see a lot of this erratic behavior that we read about so often? That one night in particular when she was in that awards show was really embarrassing. Did you see any of that?

PERGOLA: I didn't see that. I mean, there was a little bit of, — you know, there was a lot of waiting around for her. Was she going to go out that day? No, she didn't feel like it. You know, it was very up and down. But it wasn't that crazy, you know, behavior.

HANNITY: Did she seem to — did she seem to have problems when you were around her?

BENZA: Yes.

PERGOLA: She actually seemed — you know...

BENZA: She's been a nut case for a long time. Look, there was a time when she was the most beautiful girl in the world, and then there was a time that the whole world mocked her. And now she had this comeback. She looks — she looked great again, and we kind of forgot about her.

But there's always been a suspicion swirling around her about drugs and alcohol forever. And unfortunately, the son got caught up in it. He's going to get caught up in it right now.

HANNITY: Look, I didn't really watch a lot of that reality show. I've got more important things to watch.

DOBSON: Thank you.

HANNITY: But I watched a number of times, and I literally felt sorry for her. It was awful.

BENZA: A freak show.

HANNITY: I felt, honestly, that she was being used, and it was embarrassing. And the people around her — it was almost like watching Elvis Presley, like sucking on her. And it was awful, like parasites.

DOBSON: It is. And I certainly felt sorry for her son, Daniel, throughout it. And she would say on the show that he was a straight A student. And you think, "Wow, that's amazing."

HANNITY: How is it possible?

DOBSON: "Good for him." And I really hoped he would turn out OK, and this is really sad. And again, we don't know what the cause of death yet is. The autopsy result is in, and the coroner says she knows what the cause of death is, but she's waiting till Friday for the toxicology reports.

COLMES: We thank you very much.

A.J., thank you.

And Holly, thank you very much.

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