OTR Interviews

Battle for Dannielynn

This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," April 3, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: We caught Anna Nicole's mother, Virgie Arthur, on her way into court today.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Virgie. What are we expecting today?

VIRGIE ARTHUR, ANNA NICOLE'S MOTHER: I wish I could tell you.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to ask for temporary guardianship for this proceeding, Ms. Arthur?

ARTHUR: I really can't talk about (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you heard anything about the paternity test results?

(CROSSTALK)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN: Is Virgie Arthur getting ready for round two? She fought for Anna Nicole's body for burial and she lost. Is she now, regardless of the DNA test outcome as to who the father is she going to fight for custody of her granddaughter?

Joining us, Virgie Arthur's lawyer, John O'Quinn. Welcome, John.

JOHN O'QUINN, ATTORNEY FOR VIRGIE ARTHUR: Welcome, Greta. How're you doing?

VAN SUSTEREN: I'm very well tonight, John. All right, John, I know your client does not have a good relationship with Howard K. Stern. In the event, hypothetically — we don't know what's going to happen at 2:30 on Tuesday. But in the event that Larry Birkhead is the father, after the DNA test results come back, is Virgie still going to fight for custody from Larry Birkhead?

O'QUINN: Well, under section 14 of the Family Act of the Bahamas, she as the grandmother has the right to ask for joint guardianship. And she will make that request.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. I assume if Larry Birkhead is the father — and again, it's an assumption because, who knows, maybe the prince is the father. We still — you know, the jury's still out on that one until Tuesday at 2:30. Or maybe it's Howard. But I assume that if Larry is the father that he is going to take that child back home to California, and then section 14 under the Bahama code is going to be completely irrelevant. Then what?

O'QUINN: Well, section 14 will not be completely irrelevant. This will be decided as part of the proceedings. Next Friday, there's going to be a hearing on Virgie Arthur's motion that she be also appointed the guardian.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well...

O'QUINN: (INAUDIBLE) next Friday.

VAN SUSTEREN: That next Friday, after the paternity is determined?

O'QUINN: Yes. And I bet you this ain't over on Tuesday about paternity. Stern has shown a huge willingness and capacity to appeal, appeal, delay, delay, delay.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, is there anything...

O'QUINN: It's not going to be over on Tuesday. It's not going to be over on Tuesday, Greta. You know that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, even his lawyer sort of rolled yesterday, rolled over on him before the appeals court because his lawyer got in front of the appeals court, a new lawyer, saw the writing on the wall, saw that there was no basis for filing the appeal, that some fundamental rules had simply been ignored, and so he gave up. I can't imagine Gomez is going to get caught again in such a situation. What could Stern possibly do to block that 2:30 hearing on Tuesday?

O'QUINN: Number one, the reason it got put off from today is they want the man who did the test to be in court and testify about how he did the test. I can envision Stern will not like the way they did the test. They will come up with some kind of argument, Mickey Mouse though it may be, that you cannot look at the test results because the test was not done properly, and we will appeal if you look at the test results.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you have any idea who's paying Howard K. Stern's lawyer — I mean, who's paying the lawyers? Because, I mean, I don't know if the lawyers are representing Howard K. Stern or Dannielynn, but this is really sort of getting quite expensive, getting quite pricey. I mean, yesterday, the court essentially fined Howard K. Stern $10,000. I don't know if it's Howard or the baby who's going to have to pay for it. But who's paying his legal fees?

O'QUINN: My belief is that Stern is using the estate of Anna Nicole to pay these legal fees because he previously testified he had no source of that type of money. He had no job. He had no way to earn any money.

VAN SUSTEREN: So right now, does the child have any sort of guardian appointed to sort of watch how her money is being spent? I mean, because — I mean, I realize that he's the presumptive father. He's on the birth certificate. But you know, the money is sort of flying in terms (ph) of the lawyers right now. I mean, it seems pretty — I mean, there's an awful lot of legal wrangling, and a lot of it's probably unnecessary.

O'QUINN: Well, you're on to something, Greta. By law, a guardian owes a fiduciary duty to the beneficiary of what's being guarded. And a guardian cannot use the thing being guarded for his own benefit. And this is a very serious question here if it turns out that Stern used money that belongs to the estate, which belongs to the young child, to defend himself or to spend money on this court proceeding.

VAN SUSTEREN: Does your client, Virgie — is she willing to go out on a limb and say — who does she think is going to — I guess it's all dice rolling, whether it's the prince or Howard or Larry, at this point. But does she have any thought on this?

O'QUINN: Well, her thoughts are that she doesn't know for sure. But she does know for sure that from what she has heard that Stern is not the blood father of this child.

VAN SUSTEREN: Wouldn't it surprise...

O'QUINN: And Birkhead...

VAN SUSTEREN: Wouldn't it surprise everybody if it turned out that the father is Howard K. Stern? Wouldn't that put an interesting twist on all this.

O'QUINN: That would be the most stunning thing to occur in this whole case. And she also knows that from the way that Mr. Birkhead explained when he was with Anna, the nine months, the pregnancy dates and all those things, that he makes a very compelling case that he is the father.

VAN SUSTEREN: I guess, though, that we should add that from what we have heard, that, for lack of a better way to say it, Anna Nicole was a quite a popular woman. And it may be that after all is said and done, we still don't have an answer on this one. Anyway, all right, John, thank you. And we'll continue to follow this and bring you back. Thank you, John.

O'QUINN: OK. You're welcome, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: let's bring in our legal panel. West Palm Beach is former Westchester County DA Jeanine Pirro. San Francisco, former assistant DA Jim Hammer. Here in D.C., criminal defense lawyers Ted Williams and Bernie Grimm.

Jeanine, the unthinkable, but could happen on Tuesday is that the test results are going to test DNA from Howard K. Stern, DNA from the baby, DNA from Larry Birkhead. The prince has offered up his DNA. What if we come up with zero?

JEANINE PIRRO, FORMER WESTCHESTER COUNTY, NY, DA: Well, if we come up with zero, then what happens is, I'm sure more people will come forward. But you know, Greta, the interesting thing is that the DNA results are in. It's just a question of a week to bring in the experts to establish a chain of custody regarding the evidence. And I think that the players really already know who the father is. But I am so impressed that none of them are leaking or — or — or

VAN SUSTEREN: Actually, they don't know. You know what?

(CROSSTALK)

VAN SUSTEREN: You know what, Jeanine?

PIRRO: They're gagged.

VAN SUSTEREN: I actually don't think they do know. Believe me, we have so pounded this around the clock from every single direction, we haven't left anybody alone, nobody, lawyers, parties, with the doctor. I mean, everybody. It's, like, I don't think that information is out there.

PIRRO: Greta...

VAN SUSTEREN: Maybe The National Enquirer...

PIRRO: Greta...

VAN SUSTEREN: ... has it, but we don't have it. And we tried.

PIRRO: Why did Larry Birkhead come out of the courthouse last week jumping up and down? He was like six feet off the ground.

VAN SUSTEREN: Because he got — oh, no, because he finally got the test ordered. All right, let me move on to Ted. Ted, what if nobody — what if none of these three gentlemen are the father?

TED WILLIAMS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You know, it would not surprise me if that is the revelation in this thing. I heard Jeanine say that we — that — that the court is somewhat airtight. But I got to tell you, I don't believe that. If, in fact, next Tuesday, it comes out who is the father and it's Larry Birkhead, I can unequivocally tell you that by that night, we'll probably be talking about it here in the studio.

BERNIE GRIMM, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Jeanine raises a good point. I mean, Larry did come out of the courthouse last week quite happy, and we know it wasn't because he just got in the mail that day his bill from Debra Opri for $620,000.

(LAUGHTER)

GRIMM: Maybe he was happy because he thought the bill was going to be more. But he seems very confident. But as Greta used a very classy choice of words, Nicole was a popular woman. So it could be — I mean, I'm alibied. I don't know about Ted.

WILLIAMS: I'm alibied.

GRIMM: I can't speak for him.

(LAUGHTER)

VAN SUSTEREN: Jim, go ahead. You're a gentleman. I'll go to you, Jim, as we try to...

JIM HAMMER, FORMER ASST. SAN FRANCISCO DA: There's always...

VAN SUSTEREN: ... sort of sort this out. This is a family channel, I'd like to point out.

(LAUGHTER)

HAMMER: Well, there's always the state offender database they could check to see if there's a DNA match, but that puts aspersions on Anna Nicole. You know, that would be the real mystery in this case, Greta. What if it doesn't match Larry or the prince, and it sounds like you think the prince might actually be the father, or Howard Stern...

VAN SUSTEREN: Then it goes to Virgie, doesn't it?

HAMMER: ... and we don't know who it is — it's going to be...

VAN SUSTEREN: Doesn't it go to Virgie, at that point?

HAMMER: It does, but it's going to be a gold rush on to see anybody who might have slept with her coming forward, offering their DNA. That would be the strangest spectacle of all, people lining up to offer their DNA.

WILLIAMS: But Greta, no matter who is the father, I can unequivocally believe that Howard Stern is still going to fight on, based upon the fact that...

VAN SUSTEREN: Oh, I...

WILLIAMS: ... he's on the birth certificate.

VAN SUSTEREN: Oh, I — if it comes out on Tuesday it's Larry Birkhead or the prince, I don't think he's — I mean, I don't...

(CROSSTALK)

HAMMER: Appeal!

VAN SUSTEREN: First of all — I mean, first of all — appeal? Where's he getting — where's he's getting the money for this? I mean, what's he going to appeal? I mean, he's going to...

HAMMER: He's robbing — here's the thing. He's robbing from the baby to benefit himself. And he ought to be knocked out as the guardian of this child if he's using this child's money, and that's what this case is all about, in order himself to profit later. I think a judge ought to think about taking away his — or allowing him to spend that money to do that, Greta. It's really outrageous.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it's — I mean, this has almost turned into...

PIRRO: And Greta...

VAN SUSTEREN: ... a board game. It's very unfortunate for this poor child. Go ahead, Jeanine.

PIRRO: Well, Greta, Howard Stern has shown that he is totally capable of procrastinating and being as litigious as possible, I mean, even fighting to keep the DNA results, you know, out after they were ordered. I mean, this is a guy who understands that time is on his side, and the longer he can procrastinate, the more he benefits.

VAN SUSTEREN: Oh, I don't — I think he's run out of time, Bernie.

GRIMM: Yes, well, it's interesting. Jim brings up a good point. I think flat out, under any interpretation of the law, he's got a conflict of interest. He's not spending this money to defend the estate. He's spending the money to...

VAN SUSTEREN: Unless he's — unless he's the father. If he's the father, he's totally OK.

GRIMM: If he's the father...

(CROSSTALK)

GRIMM: ... it's rightfully spent. But if he it's not...

(CROSSTALK)

VAN SUSTEREN: If he's not...

GRIMM: But if he's not and it's Birkhead, and he knew all along it was Birkhead, he's obviously stealing money from an infant, which is...

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: ... interesting. Why hasn't somebody asked for a guardian add litem item down in the Bahamas...

VAN SUSTEREN: Because...

WILLIAMS: ... to be appointed for this child, other than Howard?

VAN SUSTEREN: For the simple reason he's the presumptive father based on the birth certificate, and you don't just, you know, sort of shoehorn guardians on people who have their parental relationship challenged.

WILLIAMS: You've educated me. I believe you.

(LAUGHTER)

VAN SUSTEREN: I tell you, I don't know whether to take a bow or what! All right. Anyway — all right, Jeanine, I'm going to give you the last word on this. Tuesday at 2:30, are we going to — do you think we'll get the results?

PIRRO: Well, yes. I think we're going to get the results. But what's going to happen is Grandma, Virgie Arthur, will continue the lawsuits for custody, for visitation. Her wanting to be a guardian ad litem is a classic conflict. But at the same time, this case is going on for a lot longer, irrespective of finality on Tuesday.

VAN SUSTEREN: If Larry is the father, he has said publicly that he would like Virgie to — assuming she's responsible and she's — that a responsible grandparent to be part of her life. So she wouldn't need to fight Larry on that, but...

HAMMER: That sounds like a real father.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... who knows? If — but I don't know. As I said, it could be the prince...

HAMMER: It sounds like it.

VAN SUSTEREN: It could be Howard K. Stern or the prince or...

WILLIAMS: The prince!

VAN SUSTEREN: Anyway — all right, panel, as always, thank you.

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