This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," April 8, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Tonight, it is the interview you have been waiting for. Howard K. Stern is here.
He was Anna Nicole Smith's lawyer and companion. He has not been a big fan of this show. In fact, he has never sat down with us before. And now Howard K. Stern sits down and goes "On the Record" for the entire hour.
Now, the death of Anna Nicole Smith shocked the world. Anna Nicole died at just 39 years old on February 8, 2007, in Florida of an accidental drug overdose. Controversy erupted. Where did she get the drugs? Who prescribed them? And with Anna Nicole's death, a bitter battle began over her body and her baby, little baby Dannielynn, who could potentially inherit millions from Anna Nicole's billionaire late husband, now motherless, became the center of a huge legal battle that made worldwide headlines. Larry Birkhead and Howard K. Stern duked it out, both claiming to be the father. But a DNA test one year ago finally provided proof that Larry was the father.
Now joining us live in New York City is Howard K. Stern, and his lawyer, Lin Wood, who we all know. And Lin and I have known each other for probably 100 years.
Nice to see both of you.
LIN WOOD, ATTORNEY FOR HOWARD K. STERN: Good to see you.
VAN SUSTEREN: Howard, you and I have spoken, and I told you that I—you know, you wanted to come. You had a lot of things to say. You have some apprehension about being on this show. I want to give you an opportunity to—you know, to whack us where you thought we should be whacked and to let you say your piece about us. So you were apprehensive.
HOWARD K. STERN, ANNA NICOLE SMITH'S BOYFRIEND: Well, Greta, night after night for months, you had people on your show with obvious agendas, and you let them make wild accusations, including accusing me of murdering Anna and Daniel, when nothing could have been further from the truth. I would give my life for either one of them. I'd trade places right now. And anyone who actually knows me or knew the three of us would say that.
The other thing that you did is you aired stolen videos, videos that you knew were stolen, and one of those videos was edited to make it seem that Anna was under the influence of drugs late in her pregnancy, and it's just not true. I think you did this for ratings. I think you did it for sensationalism. The charge was led by Rita Cosby and John O'Quinn. But you, Geraldo and basically everybody else at FOX wasn't far behind. And I think it's sad if that's what news has become.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Now, let's—let me just break this down a little bit. The accusation of murder, that was made by John O'Quinn. That was not made by anyone else on our show. Is that right? Is that right?
STERN: That's incorrect.
WOOD: That is right. Well, John O'Quinn made the allegation of murder against Howard both with respect to Anna Nicole and Daniel. And to your credit, you took offense with it when he made it on your show, that it was not your statement and that you did not agree with him giving Howard, as everyone should, the right to the presumption of innocence.
But John O'Quinn did make that allegation here. Anna Nicole's father, who had not seen her for 20 years, also came on this show in a taped interview and accused Howard of murder. So it's happened with more than just John O'Quinn, but he was the first and worst.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Now, the—in terms of Rita Cosby, Geraldo and anyone else, you'll have—you'll share those beefs with them, I take it. But any beef you have with me, you and I will talk about right here, OK?
STERN: That's fair.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK. Good. All right. Now, let's start with the beef that I had with you, is that from the beginning, when the terrible news broke that Anna Nicole Smith had died, the paternity was an issue. You didn't take a paternity test right from the outset, which night after night after night, I kept saying, Howard, take the paternity test and find out who that—who that child's father is. It might be you. It might be Larry. I didn't think it was Prince von Anhalt, but—you didn't do it right away. Why not?
STERN: Well, the day that the burial trial ended, I met with Larry privately, and I wanted to work out an agreement where we would do the DNA test in private. I was concerned that I believed I was Dannielynn's father, Larry believed he was Dannielynn's father, and then there were people coming out of the woodwork who also had claims. So I was concerned in the event that neither of us was Dannielynn's father, what would happen? So I tried to work it out privately. We actually were going very long—far along in the process. And then I got a letter from one of Larry's lawyers saying that I was threatening him and that they were going to try and get a restraining order against me.
I spoke with Larry at the next court hearing, and Larry told me he didn't even know that the letter was written. And by that point, the DNA tests had already been ordered. I talked with Larry. I told him that if it turned out that he was Dannielynn's father, that I wasn't going to fight him on custody. I just wanted to make sure that there was a smooth transition so it would be in the best interests of Dannielynn.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Now, the fact is if it turned out to be his father, you wouldn't have had much—much standing to fight with him on custody, would you agree?
STERN: Oh, I—I actually could have fought, but I wasn't going to do that.
VAN SUSTEREN: But I mean, certainly, you could have fought, but it would have been pretty absurd at that point.
STERN: Yes, I wasn't going to do that. I wasn't—the only—I'll tell you, at this point, the only person who's fighting Larry for custody - - and I think he's doing a great job, but Virgie Arthur is still fighting in the Bahamas.
VAN SUSTEREN: Which is equally bizarre. Equally bizarre. Do you agree, Lin?
WOOD: I do agree.
VAN SUSTEREN: In the fact that—I mean, that she's fighting, and the child's living in California, happily, as far as we know, with Larry.
WOOD: And remember that she had not seen Anna Nicole for over 10, maybe 12 years before death. They were estranged. They had no real relationship. And then suddenly, when Daniel dies, all of a sudden, Virgie Arthur is on television. And then obviously, after the tragic death of Anna Nicole, Virgie Arthur and her lawyer, John O'Quinn, all over television. And all of a sudden, she's making demands and taking positions that are totally inconsistent with the life that she had had and the relationship she had had for years with Anna Nicole.
VAN SUSTEREN: You said that you agreed after the trial was over, the burial trial was over.
VAN SUSTEREN: What—the whole custody thing started, though, not in February, when Anna Nicole died. It really went back to—it was filed in either September or October, about six months earlier. Now, it really, at that point, was a dispute between Larry and Anna Nicole.
STERN: Yes, I was never a party to that action.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Now—and I understand that. Did you encourage Anna Nicole to help establish—because you were asserting your parent—he claimed he was a father six months before this point where you agreed to it. Did you in any way encourage Anna to try to resolve this even privately with Larry, to get this situation resolved?
STERN: I'll tell you, we really believed that I was the father. And the beef that I had with Larry at the time is that the dispute was made in the public. It was done through the media. And this was after Daniel passed away. So that's really the beef that I had. Anna, she just didn't want to do the test. And Anna Nicole was in control. I mean, anybody who says that I controlled Anna, they're kidding themselves. Anna—she was the boss. She was the boss of me, that's for sure.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. So—so the dispute over—over who was the father began in September or October. Anna dies in February, and you agree at the end of the burial trial to do the DNA, but the court orders it, as well. Right?
STERN: Right. Right.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK...
STERN: Well, I actually talked to Larry before the court ordered it, and I wanted to do it privately because I was concerned, as said, about what would happen if neither of us were Dannielynn's father. And you know, on your show and a lot of other shows, everybody was talking about Dannielynn like she was a sack of potatoes. This is a baby we're talking about. You can't just hand her over. You have to do what's right for her.
VAN SUSTEREN: I don't think—I don't think...
STERN: And I will tell you that...
VAN SUSTEREN: I don't think anyone disagrees with that. I think the primary (ph) and the thing that I—you know, night after night had the problem with you is that—is it felt you were dragging your feet about the parental thing, and you know, about establishing who the father was, and you were fighting it. You were filing pleadings against Larry.
VAN SUSTEREN: You gave directions to your lawyers to resist it. I mean...
STERN: That was after...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... this was contested...
STERN: ... I got the letter. That was after I got the letter that they were going to get a restraining order against me. And when they did that—and the reality of it is, I wanted to get it worked out in private. There—some parties—I'd say some attorneys who wanted this to be very public, who wanted to get face time out of it.
VAN SUSTEREN: And I—you know what? I don't disagree with you. I think that you were up against a lawyer for Larry Birkhead who wanted to fight it in the press...
VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, I was well aware of that. But by the same token, is that you rose to the occasion and were directing your lawyers to fight it, as well. There was no sort of, you know, really extending the olive branch for the sake of the child that you say we treated like a sack of potatoes.
WOOD: But he had...
WOOD: He had tried to extend the olive branch. I mean, he went to Larry and tried to work it out privately with Larry.
VAN SUSTEREN: Post—post—post burial trial.
WOOD: And then Debra Opri stepped in and wouldn't allow Larry and Howard to have discussions. And it was really only after she got out of the picture that Larry came and was able to meet with Howard and they were able to make the transition, I think in great fashion, in the best interests of this child.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, if you fast-forward to now, it is even all the more tragic because you and Larry now are good friends working together. None of that really had to happen.
STERN: I'd say that we get along. And it's because I really care about Dannielynn, and I want her to have the best life. And Larry's doing a great job. And unfortunately, at this point, we have a lot of legal proceedings where we have common adversaries and...
VAN SUSTEREN: And are you friends, though, at this point?
STERN: I would say we are friends. I would say I'm very fortunate that he lets me be in Dannielynn's life, and I hope he lets me do that for as long as I'm around. And if he does, I'll be eternally grateful.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. We have much more with Howard K. Stern and Lin Wood. We're going to take a quick break, but we've got a whole hour with him.
Coming up, more questions you want answered. We know Anna Nicole Smith took prescription drugs. She died from an overdose of nine prescription drugs, but did she abuse drugs? Did she use recreational drugs? And did she get high while she was pregnant? We will ask Howard about this video, the one he just spoke about, which has him furious. And we showed it on the air and he was angry we showed it, and he's still mad. It was taken while Anna Nicole was pregnant and it was videoed by Howard himself. We'll get all the details from Howard. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STERN: Anna? Anna, look at me. Riley (ph) thinks you've absolutely lost your mind.
ANNA NICOLE SMITH: Huh?
STERN: Riley thinks you've lost your mind.
SMITH: I didn't lose my mind.
STERN: She thinks you have. Is this a mushroom trip?
STERN: Is this a mushroom trip?
STERN: Is this a mushroom trip?
SMITH: What do you mean?
STERN: I'm kidding.
SMITH: What does that mean?
STERN: I'm kidding.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: This video stunned and outraged many — a pregnant Anna Nicole Smith's seemingly so out of it as Howard K. Stern videoed it. Many were asking, Was Anna Nicole on drugs? If so, who gave them to her? And if it wasn't drugs, why was she acting so bizarre?
Howard, you say we've taken this totally out of context.
VAN SUSTEREN: So go ahead. Tell me.
STERN: First of all, as I said before, the video is stolen. We've never returned — it's never been returned to us. You might have a bigger version. We have absolutely nothing.
But what that video would show is it was actually Ford Shelley's daughter Riley's birthday party. And Ford Shelley, his wife and a few other people came over the house. Anna had me go out and buy a bunch of presents. They came back to—when I got back to the house, Anna was coloring with Riley. She—Riley painted her face, and Anna was pretending to be a little girl, which is something that actually Anna did quite frequently. And she got more in the character. The daughter, Riley, really believed it, and that caused Anna to even go more extreme in character. And it's Anna's sense of humor.
VAN SUSTEREN: So no drugs. You say no drugs and...
STERN: Absolutely no drugs.
VAN SUSTEREN: What's the mushroom—what's the mushroom remark?
STERN: That's my sense of humor. And you might fault me for my sense of humor. But if I thought she was on drugs, why would I say that on camera? It's just—it's absolutely ridiculous.
VAN SUSTEREN: So you say so that's an innocent videotaping of a birthday party, someone having fun with a sense of humor and...
STERN: Totally taken out of context. And the way the video ends—and I believe that Gina Shelley (ph) on your program said this, is that I convinced Anna that she was taking it too far, so Anna stopped. If she was—if she was so much on drugs that she believed a baby doll was actually a real baby, do you think I'd be able to convince her of that?
VAN SUSTEREN: Was she—was she on methadone during that period of time? Because there were some pictures that we've seen and we've had of a refrigerator with methadone. Was she on methadone?
STERN: At that point in her pregnancy, she may have been on possibly, like, one milligram of methadone at the time. You know, throughout her pregnancy—which is what the doctor said to do. You can't just get off the methadone. If she did, she would have aborted Dannielynn. So she reduced its safely in accordance with what the doctor said.
At that point, I don't know if she was entirely off. She might have been on one milligram at a time. But if she was on methadone, it was a very, very little amount, nothing that could impair her.
VAN SUSTEREN: And I'll tell you what—I'll tell you what supports that is that the child was born without drug problems.
VAN SUSTEREN: But I'll tell you what cuts against it sort of, you know, a little bit in my mind is that she was treated in April or May—three months earlier, I think, she was in the hospital for drugs. Right or wrong?
STERN: No, it wasn't for drugs. She was actually in the hospital because she was having migraines, and that was at a time when she was already reducing the medication that she was on.
VAN SUSTEREN: So what—so I think—and correct me if I'm wrong. I know you've pored over the transcripts...
STERN: I took her—I took her to the doctor...
VAN SUSTEREN: No, I understand that. But correct me if I'm wrong, but did Larry Birkhead say or did someone say that you had some sort of bag of drugs...
STERN: He did.
VAN SUSTEREN: ... or someone has suggested that in the hospital in April or May, before this video?
STERN: He did say that. He did say that.
VAN SUSTEREN: And?
STERN: And (INAUDIBLE) at the time, his attorney was Debra Opri.
VAN SUSTEREN: So he made it up, are you saying?
STERN: This is what I'm going to say. I brought Anna to the hospital, OK? If she was in a room where the doctors were giving her medication, trying to treat her for her migraines, and it was, like, benadryl or phinegrin (ph) or something, and it was sort of making Anna sleepwalk. It was making her—she would be in bed, and she would move around like she was beating (ph) the dogs or something. So there was actually a nurse in the room the whole time. I brought Anna there. I was with her. The entire weekend...
VAN SUSTEREN: What about the bag? Tell me about the bag, though, that Larry—are you saying Larry made that up?
STERN: I'm saying that there was a duffel bag. It had clothes in it. There was no additional drugs in that hospital room. I mean, especially, think about it...
VAN SUSTEREN: Because you know, you're critical of us...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... Howard, but this is—we're hearing this from—this...
STERN: Greta, what his story was...
VAN SUSTEREN: We're hearing this from Larry.
STERN: What his story was is that Anna was brought to the hospital to detox. Now...
VAN SUSTEREN: Is that wrong?
STERN: That part of it is true. I mean, she was already trying to reduce the amount of medication she was on. They couldn't stop her...
VAN SUSTEREN: So it's not migraines, then.
STERN: They couldn't stop—no, she was brought to the hospital for migraines. That's what I said.
VAN SUSTEREN: Who's the—where's the detox fit it?
STERN: That was Larry's version.
VAN SUSTEREN: And that's false?
STERN: This is what Larry said—Larry wasn't there when I brought Anna to the hospital. He just wasn't there. Now, when Anna was in the hospital, one of the things that was going on is that they were reducing the amount of medication. You have to remember that you're in the hospital, they're going to be taking blood all the time. If Anna was on excessive—and they also had a monitor on the baby the whole time. There was no additional drugs. Whatever she had would have been from what the hospital gave to her.
VAN SUSTEREN: We're going to take a quick break.
Coming up: Anna Nicole Smith endures a parent's worst nightmare, the death of her child. Her 20-year-old son, Daniel, died inside her hospital room. But what exactly happened in the last few hours and minutes of Daniel's life? Howard K. Stern was in that hospital room. He'll tell you what he saw.
VAN SUSTEREN: Anna Nicole Smith suffered a horrible tragedy, the death of her 20-year-old son, Daniel. She loved him immensely. Daniel was visiting Anna Nicole on September 10, 2006, in a hospital in the Bahamas three days after Anna Nicole gave birth to baby Dannielynn. And suddenly, Daniel was unresponsive and later pronounced dead. How did he die? Finally, eight days ago, an inquest jury in the Bahamas ruled that Daniel Smith died from an accidental drug overdose.
And we're back with Lin and Howard. Lin, is that the end of the inquest? I mean, the inquest in the Bahamas says it's accidental—accidental death, that that's it, right?
WOOD: Yes, accidental overdose is essentially the ruling. One of the things that was of interest that was really missed by the media is that the judge charged the jury that, in fact, if they felt like there was some question in their minds about whether someone had given Daniel drugs, that they should return an open verdict. They did not. They unanimously found that it was, in fact, an accidental overdose.
And so that inquest, as we expected it to do, clearly exonerates Howard, just as Dr. Perper's report exonerated him with respect to the death of Anna Nicole. There should never have been accusations of murder made against this man.
VAN SUSTEREN: Now, there's an open investigation California, is that right?
WOOD: There is. And let me make this point about that. If you look behind all of these investigations, you're going to find the hand of John O'Quinn and his cronies, Don Clark. And they have been trying. They tried in the Bahamas. They tried it in Florida with Dr. Perper. They've tried in California. They have been trying their dead level best to try to manufacture evidence to somehow get Howard charged with some type of a crime, primarily so that they can help defend themselves in the lawsuit that we filed in Florida against John O'Quinn and his law partner.
VAN SUSTEREN: For saying that Howard's a murderer.
WOOD: For saying that Howard's a murderer. And they are out in California, and I hope the California authorities know where the information is coming from because everyone else has looked at it and rejected it. And I fully expect that the efforts in California will be likewise unsuccessful. They should be.
VAN SUSTEREN: Howard, what happened in that hospital room? You picked Daniel up at the airport to see his new sister.
STERN: I did. I picked him up. The night before was just a wonderful night. I mean, it was picture perfect. At some point in the night, Daniel did say to me that, I don't know why I'm so tired, and I didn't take it to mean anything, and I really wish that I had. The next thing that happened is I was woken up with Anna saying, Howard, Howard, Daniel's not breathing. And it was just an absolute nightmare. And then life changed at that point, and it just—it's like the world ended is how I feel now.
VAN SUSTEREN: She was inconsolable, wasn't she.
STERN: Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, she literally had to be pried off of Daniel. She did not—she would not accept that he died. She wanted to take Daniel home. She said that he was sleeping and she wanted to take him home. And that's why that picture, the picture of Anna—and there's one picture. It's not a series of pictures, as other people have claimed...
VAN SUSTEREN: We should probably tell the viewers. They don't know that there was a picture with Anna with Daniel and Daniel was dead. They were lying in the bed. And it got passed around to all of us in the media. Some used it. We didn't show it here on this show, but we certainly had that picture.
STERN: Again, that's a stolen picture that never would have seen the light of day.
VAN SUSTEREN: Stolen by whom? And how? You took the picture?
STERN: I did take the picture.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why did you take it?
STERN: Because Anna asked me to take it. And I'd do it again. I would have done anything for Anna at that time. Obviously, we couldn't take Daniel home with us. That wasn't going to happen. But a picture I could do.
VAN SUSTEREN: And so it was on your camera?
STERN: No, it was on Anna's camera.
VAN SUSTEREN: And so who got it?
STERN: Well, I know, you know, one person who definitely had it, and that would be the person who entered in Anna's house after—the day that—actually, the day after Anna died. But other people may have gotten that picture, as well.
VAN SUSTEREN: Did Anna ever see that picture?
STERN: She saw it. She absolutely saw it.
VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, I—I mean, there's a picture...
VAN SUSTEREN: Look, you know, in the media, you know, we're out there looking for news. It was a newsworthy story. But that was a picture that was—it was—you couldn't look at it.
STERN: That's true. That's true. I mean, it—that day, I mean, I cannot—I'd never be able to describe how horrible that day was. And that picture, it doesn't even reflect the mood of that day, it was that bad.
VAN SUSTEREN: Did you like Daniel?
STERN: I loved Daniel. And Daniel—he's my family. I mean, I would trade places with Daniel in a second. I'd do anything for Daniel. I mean, he was a great kid. He was an absolute great kid. And there was a time when I was working so much and I obviously missed some things that were going on in Daniel's life. And I'll never—I beat myself up about that every day. There are things that I've later learned that, had I known about then, maybe Daniel would be alive right now.
VAN SUSTEREN: There's something about a single—I mean, she's a single parent raising a son. I mean, it's—you know (INAUDIBLE) child. I mean, the two of them for a long time, long before you came into her life...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... (INAUDIBLE) is Daniel and Anna Nicole.
STERN: They were best friends. Daniel was everything to Anna. And when Daniel died, a part of Anna died.
VAN SUSTEREN: Let me take a quick break.
Coming up: It's no secret that Anna Nicole Smith's estranged mother, Virgie Arthur, and Howard K. Stern are enemies. Virgie has said Howard was using Anna Nicole as a meal ticket and has even blamed Stern for Anna Nicole and Daniel's death. What does Howard have to say about that? You'll find out.
VAN SUSTEREN: Anna Nicole Smith's estranged mother Virgie Arthur when "On the Record" May 2, 2007, about three months after Anna Nicole's death. We asked Virgie what she thought of Howard K. Stern, and this is what she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VIRGIE ARTHUR, ANNA NICOLE SMITH'S MOTHER: Well, he was a poor, pitiful guy who lost. He lost Daniel, he lost Vicki, and then he lost the baby. They were never his to begin with. They are never his, so what has he lost? He lost a meal ticket.
That is what they said when I said that Vicki Lin will be next. Something has happened to my grandson, and, Vicki, you will be next. And everybody told me, do not worry about that, because that is their meal ticket.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Howard, she hates you.
STERN: First off, let me say I never met Virgie Arthur when Anna was alive. They were estranged before I ever came into the picture. So she actually knows nothing about me.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why did she target you then?
STERN: Well, I think because she was estranged from our daughter. And, again, during the time I was there, there was not even a phone call that I am aware of.
The only way she could justify doing what she did in Florida in trying to bury Anna in Texas or making a play on Dannielynn, which she is still doing, is to say that Anna was a drug out of our wits for the last 12 years to the point where she could not make any coherent decisions and that Howard K. Stern controlled her.
And that is their story, and that is what they went with. They went with it in court, and that is what it was in the media, and it could not be further from the truth.
VAN SUSTEREN: In the courtroom in Florida there was a tape played in which Anna Nicole pretty much ripped her mother. What was the story behind that, because it was unbelievably vicious attack on her mother? I don't know whether it was warranted or not, but it certainly was vicious.
STERN: That is what Anna said after her mother went out in the media.
WOOD: You have got to remember that they were estranged for over 10 years. And I think it is a fair question to ask — why? What happened? What was the nature of their relationship?
We know what Anna Nicole said on "Entertainment Tonight," which Virgie Arthur has now turned into a lawsuit against Howard and CBS in Texas, which I think is another one of John O'Quinn's what we call a death by 1000 cuts, where he is trying every avenue possible to destroy this man.
But that tape was Anna Nicole. Those were her words, not Howard's. And I do not know why —
VAN SUSTEREN: I suspect that Virgie blamed Howard for being — I think, cooked up in her mind is that Howard was behind Anna Nicole doing that.
WOOD: You look at the person that has tried to turn this into a meal ticket. When I watch that video of her, and I see her smug and smiling — the person who is trying to turn this into a meal ticket, one of the people among many, is a Virgie Arthur, who has now become somewhat of a mini- celebrity, who now is wind and dined and put up in fine hotels at the expense of John O'Quinn, who has all of sudden found herself in New York at Rita Cosby's book signing party as the secret celebrity that shows up.
I mean, how can she endorse a book written by Rita Cosby that trashes her daughter's life? That is not the act of a loving and caring mother.
VAN SUSTEREN: As an aside, and this is separate from that, how do you support yourself?
STERN: Right now?
VAN SUSTEREN: Yes.
STERN: Honestly, right now, my parents are supporting me. I have been forced to go through all these legal ordeals. They are behind me 100 percent. Now that this is over, I do have a plan. It is not something I want to discuss publicly.
But going back to the freeloader comment of Virgie Arthur — I did so much legal work for Anna — things in the Marshall litigation, contracts, other litigation, things that the media actually could have found had they looked. But I did not ask Anna to pay me.
VAN SUSTEREN: But that is bizarre though, Howard. A lawyer has to pay overhead, you have to pay rent, you have to pay all of that stuff.
STERN: By this point, we were much more than lawyer-client. And, in my view, we were in this thing together.
VAN SUSTEREN: Even though she was having a relationship with Larry Birkhead and others?
STERN: We were in this thing together. It is hard to explain, but Anna and I, I love her more than life itself.
VAN SUSTEREN: Did she love you back that way?
STERN: I absolutely believe so.
VAN SUSTEREN: How do you explain the relationship then with Larry on the side and others?
STERN: Let me say this: if Anna Nicole could come back today, I guarantee you she would be standing right by my side. And most of these other people, they would be running for the hills.
VAN SUSTEREN: It did not bother you that she was seeing these other guys?
STERN: The thing is I was a lawyer, and we were concerned about that. I wanted Anna to be happy — more than anything I wanted her to be happy.
VAN SUSTEREN: Even to the extent that you shared her with another guy?
STERN: I wanted her to be happy.
VAN SUSTEREN: Coming up, you watched every twist and turn in the fight over Anna Nicole's body and burial — the quirky Judge Seidlin — it was a real-life soap opera, but about profoundly serious issues and very personal for those involved.
Howard K. Stern was there. He will take you inside the courtroom. Stick around, we have so much more for you with Howard K. Stern and Lin Wood.
VAN SUSTEREN: That was a very emotional Florida Judge Larry Seidlin, giving advice about baby Dannielynn. Who could forget that judge?
Judge Seidlin oversaw another legal battle, the battle over Anna Nicole's body and where it would be buried. Virgie wanted her daughter Anna Nicole buried in Texas, while Howard K. Stern and others said that Anna Nicole wanted to be buried in the Bahamas, that that was her intent, next to her son Daniel.
Judge Seidlin finally gave custody of Anna Nicole's body to the court- appointed guardian for Dannielynn and directed the guardian to have her buried in the Bahamas. The court of appeals affirmed that Anna Nicole Smith's intention was to be buried in the Bahamas.
And, finally, in March 2, 2007, three weeks after death, Anna Nicole was finally laid to rest.
Howard, what was it like in that courtroom? For the rest of us, it was bizarre.
STERN: Judge Seidlin, he said that that trial was about giving dignity to Anna Nicole in death, and also about Dannielynn. It was not about that. That trial was a two-week television audition for Judge Seidlin.
Eventually he came to sort of the right result, because all I cared about was that Anna's intent would be followed that she would be buried in the Bahamas with her son.
But what he put me through, I think it is outrageous. I do not think that guy should be sitting on the bench and in small claims court.
VAN SUSTEREN: And he is not. He has since retired.
Lynn, everybody watched this. And people do not often get a chance to go into courtrooms, or do not take the opportunity to do so. His behavior was bizarre. But, from what I understand, is that it was not so profoundly different from his usual behavior.
WOOD: While, bizarre is one word. I look at the tapes and the little that I did see at the time it was happening, I think it was an embarrassment to the legal profession. I have been practicing trial law for 31 years, and I have never seen a judge conduct himself from the bench like that.
And then immediately after this, the next thing you know, we are hearing about deals to become a television judge with CBS.
VAN SUSTEREN: Which fell through, apparently.
WOOD: Apparently so, and it should have. I said to Howard that he would have gotten a better result if he had tried his case in front of Judge Judy instead of this guy Seidlin.
But that was an embarrassment to the legal profession. They took a simple issue that should have taken two hours to litigate it in a hearing, and they turned it into a three-ring circus with the Seidlin as the ringmaster.
And it was all done because of publicity, it was all done because it was high-profile, and everyone got caught up in the bright lights, and that influenced the way they acted.
VAN SUSTEREN: Except that we were told, and even your other lawyer, Christa Bartha, said that that is not so far of how the usually is, and she practices down there. I mean, not to defend behavior, but I am just saying that —
WOOD: But to expand the limited issue of what was Anna Nicole's intent as to where she wanted to be buried into that type of a three-ring circus, opening up all kinds of issues regarding the case, is inexcusable.
STERN: It is hard for me to believe that if Anna Nicole was not famous and if there weren't television cameras around, it is really hard for me to believe that that guy would have held two of the weeks of hearings.
IT should of been a two-hour hearing and then the decision, because it was a question of law. It was not a question of fact. It should have been a two hour hearing, and then whoever lost could have then appealed it.
VAN SUSTEREN: It certainly shouldn't have been two weeks. I would have said a day, but that is not far off from two hours.
There is one point that I what to play for the viewers. This is Judge Seidlin who gets an update from the Broward County Medical Examiner, Dr. Perper, who did the autopsy on Anna Nicole. Watch what happens.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE LARRY SEIDLIN: Take a second, Dr. Pepper-Perp is on the telephone. Can I destroy a name, huh?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Now that was bizarre. Maybe the viewers do not follow court proceedings, but to take a phone call and put it on speaker. First of all, he got Dr. Perper's name wrong, Dr. Pepper, which people naturally laugh at. It is very personal and troubling at the time, emotional, but it is hard not to.
STERN: He took another call when I was on the stand, and Dr. Perper said that Anna's body was decomposing. And to me, that was even more inappropriate.
VAN SUSTEREN: The Judge Corta(ph), he's the one who ruled on whether the paternity, whether it should be litigated in Florida or not, he's the one who then got busted for marijuana.
STERN: I have never appeared before him.
HUME: you know I thought was—maybe you have a different feeling, but I saw the bill for the guardian for Dannielynn. I was scandalized at how much. Was this a friend's of Judge Seidlin that he appointed?
STERN: I am not sure. I am not sure if they were friends or not.
VAN SUSTEREN: But how much was the Bill?
STERN: It was a quite substantial bill.
WOOD: I think it was in excess of $200,000.
STERN: I do not think that Dannielynn should have been billed as it all. and that is part of the problem I had with that whole proceeding. But it is just not something I really want to discuss publicly.
VAN SUSTEREN: I understand you do not, but it is important issue, because here you have a court-appointed guardian for a baby, and the money comes out of the pot of the baby — it doesn't come our of your or Larry's pocket, but hers — and if it was $200,000, that is not a small matter.
STERN: I agree with you. Richard Millstein is not the type of person to litigate things in the media, and, honestly, I am not either. I am only responding to stuff that other people brought on, so I would prefer not to go into it.
WOOD: I'll take 20 seconds to make a plug for the legal profession. Judge Seidlin is not representative of the quality of people we have on the bench.
The lawsuit we had before Rita Cosby is before Judge Jenny Chan(ph) in New York, the lawsuit against O'Quinn is before Dmitri O'lass(ph) in Florida, Virgie Arthur's lawsuit is in front of Judge Rosenthal (ph) in Texas. They will not be taking any phone calls from the bench. The will be ruling correctly in those case. And I would urge people to follow what happens in those cases if they want to determine the truth of what has happened to Howard Stern.
VAN SUSTEREN: Coming up, the agonizing days after Daniel died. Ann Nicole was inconsolable.
VAN SUSTEREN: Welcome back. We are here in Howard K. Stern and Lin Wood. What does the "K" stand for, by the way?
VAN SUSTEREN: I am sure you get mixed up with Howard Stern a lot, right? The name?
STERN: Not anymore.
VAN SUSTEREN: Not anymore. Now he gets mixed up with you.
VAN SUSTEREN: Ford Shelly and Ben Thompson.
STERN: You had them on your show a lot of times, and they were saying that they were Anna's best friends. And after Daniel died, they were no longer best friends.
They caused Anna more stress and more aggravation after Daniel died, including turning the power off at the house, tried to evict Anna the day after Daniel's a funeral to the point where Anna actually had to get an injunction against them to not go on the property.
VAN SUSTEREN: What they say is that they bought Anna's house with the expectation that they would get paid back, and they basically stole it, and that you were a squatter.
STERN: The word "mortgage" was never — the house was bought in July. The word "mortgage" never came up until about two weeks after Daniel's death.
VAN SUSTEREN: So why would they be so magnanimous? What was it, about $650,000? Why would they be so magnanimous to give that money to Anna?
STERN: You have to remember the timing here. In May of that year, Anna Nicole had just won in the Supreme Court in the big Marshall litigation. And on the news, everybody was talking about how she could receive up to $450 million.
VAN SUSTEREN: So it was a loss leader, essentially.
STERN: Ford Shelley said this to Anna, also said it to me: "What is mine is yours, what's yours is mine." He said repeatedly to Anna.
VAN SUSTEREN: We interviewed Anna Nicole back in August of 2002. She had this to say about you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you have a best friend?
ANNA NICOLE SMITH: My best friend is my lawyer.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you think that is sort of odd that your best friend is your lawyer?
SMITH: Well, that is where the loneliness comes back in.
VAN SUSTEREN: Tell me. Explain.
SMITH: I do not have anyone around me, and he was my lawyer, and he, you know, always talked to me when I need a friend, when I needed somebody, and we just became best friends, so —
VAN SUSTEREN: It just seems odd to me that you would go out and hire a lawyer to be your best friend.
SMITH: Isn't that odd?
VAN SUSTEREN: That is my question. I think it is odd.
SMITH: No, we just became really close, you know? He was just there for me when I needed somebody. When I was going through this litigation, he was there for me, and we just became the best of friends.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Was she your best friend?
STERN: She was definitely my best friend. She was my whole world, my whole world, her and Daniel both. I will never get over them not being here and my life having to go on without them, never.
VAN SUSTEREN: What was in about Anna?
STERN: She was just amazing. It was everything about her. To me, she was absolutely perfect. She was beautiful, smart, successful. She was just an amazing person.
VAN SUSTEREN: How are you going — I mean, I can feel, two feet away from each other, I can feel some of the pain that you go through. It has now been a year, which is not much time, but you have got to get on with your life. How are you going to do that?
STERN: It is hard. I mean, it is hard. I think about Anna every day. I mean, I have dreams about her where she tries to convince me that she is not gone.
And it is a long process. People say, people have told me that time heals banks. And for me, it has just not happened yet. It has just hasn't. I'm going to have to move on regardless.
VAN SUSTEREN: A lot of people think you supplied her drugs — no?
STERN: I mean, again, that is out there in the media.
VAN SUSTEREN: Never happened?
STERN: That is what the story was. In terms of ever did I go to the pharmacy and —
VAN SUSTEREN: You know what I mean.
STERN: No way. I would not do anything to hurt Anna. She was everything to me, everything to me — everything.
VAN SUSTEREN: Before Daniel died, where she a happy woman?
STERN: She was happy. She would go up and down, but she was mostly happy.
She had a lot of stress. The Marshall litigation definitely took its toll. But she, overall, was very happy.
She had some problems with other things going on, but we would have just wonderful times together, wonderful times. I would take the worst times we ever went through, I would take that in spades over what my life is without her.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you think that you loved your more than she loved you, or she loved you more than you loved her?
STERN: I do not know. I know that I loved her with all of my heart, and I believe that she also loved me just the same.
VAN SUSTEREN: What about Larry? How did Larry Birkhead fit into this, then?
STERN: Larry and Anna had a relationship. I am not going to dispute that now. I do think it was different than the relationship that Anna and I had.
VAN SUSTEREN: How?
STERN: That is something that Larry would know and Anna would know better.
And, at this point, I don't really do not want to go back over the past. I want Dannielynn to look favorably on her mom, on her father. And I just do not feel like it is my place to make any comments about what their relationship was.
VAN SUSTEREN: We will take a break. Coming up, our final minutes with Howard K. Stern and Lin Wood.
VAN SUSTEREN: We are back with Howard K. Stern and his lawyer Lin Wood.
Lynn — Rita Cosby, a former correspondent and anchor here at FOX News Channel, but went off to another channel. You are suing her on behalf of Howard?
WOOD: For the publication of the book "The Untold Story of Anna Nicole." The lawsuit is pending in New York. We're in discovery.
And what is interesting about that is Rita Cosby is a journalist who allegedly wants the public to know the truth, allegedly told the truth in her book. In fact, in the litigation, we are in discovery and we are taking depositions from key witnesses, including Ms. Cosby.
And it has been Ms. Cosby that has moved the court to seal those depositions, to keep you from reading what was said, to keep you from airing the videos of those depositions.
And I think that speaks volumes, when you have a journalist trying to prevent the public from knowing the truth about litigation.
VAN SUSTEREN: We only have 15 seconds. Did you get a fair shake here?
STERN: I think I did.
VAN SUSTEREN: Good. I hope you come back, Howard. And, Lin, thank you as well. Thank you both.
WOOD: Thank you, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you for being with us tonight. Keep going to Gretawire.com and tell us what you thought of tonight's show, and check out articles and videos that we post all the time.
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