LOS ANGELES – A Florida judge said Wednesday he won't rule on the release of Anna Nicole Smith's body until Thursday, and that the former Playboy playmate's corpse will stay in the custody of the state medical examiner's office until then.
Court proceedings will resume in Broward County at 9:30 a.m. EST Thursday.
A California judge on Wednesday granted a request to end a hold placed on the release of Smith's body, which had been ordered to allow a DNA sample to be taken as part of a paternity fight.
Judge Robert A. Schnider made his ruling in a closed hearing after the emergency request by Ron Rale, an attorney for Smith.
The judge said that he was satisfied that enough of Smith's DNA had been taken. Neavitt said Florida officials who performed the autopsy on Smith have preserved her DNA.
Hours earlier, a Florida judge, citing a California court's order last week for DNA testing on Smith's body, ordered a morgue not to release the body.
Attorneys for Stern went back to Circuit Judge Lawrence Korda in Florida to ask that the body be released.
Korda had ordered the body held for 10 days after a brief meeting in his chambers with attorneys for photographer Larry Birkhead, who also claims to be the baby's father.
Birkhead petitioned the Florida court Tuesday, asking that the California court order for DNA testing filed Friday — the day after Smith died — be enforced in Florida.
Nancy Hass, an attorney for Birkhead, said the Birkhead camp feared that accurate DNA testing would not be possible if the body was released and moved out of state.
Smith's mother, Vergie Arthur, and Stern had been opposing last week's decision by the Los Angeles judge.
Stern and Smith's mother also fear that if the body is not embalmed, even though it is refrigerated, it will not be suitable for viewing or funeral purposes.
"We would just want ... to proceed with a proper burial," Rale, who represented Smith in the California court battle over paternity, said before the hearing in Los Angeles.
"According to Anna's wishes, it (the body) should be released to Howard Stern, not to Vergie," Rale said. "No one should go about touching Anna Nicole."
Krista Barth, another lawyer for Stern, said Smith made it clear she wanted to be buried in the Bahamas, where her son is buried, and condemned what she said were Arthur's efforts to bury her daughter's body in Texas.
"I think we all know Anna wants to be next to Daniel, and anything else is a tragedy," Barth said.
A Bahamian judge issued an injunction Tuesday preventing the baby from being taken out of the country until the custody case is resolved. Arthur wants to be named guardian of her granddaughter and sought the order because she feared Stern would take the child from the Bahamas, her lawyer said Wednesday.
Arthur has said she fears for the baby's safety, noting Stern was present when Smith died and when Smith's son, Daniel, died in the Bahamas in September, three days after Dannielynn was born. Stern has said Smith hated her mother, and Smith was public about that as well.
As the dispute unfolded in court, Broward County medical examiner Joshua Perper warned that Smith's corpse is decomposing and should be released. Perper filed an affidavit Tuesday urging the prompt release of the body, warning that "any further delay would result in destructive changes to the body."
Smith, 39, died Feb. 8 after collapsing at a hotel. She was the widow of billionaire J. Howard Marshall II, whom she married when he was 89 and she was 26. She had been fighting his family for years over his fortune.
Dannielynn could inherit millions from her mother's estate.
Perper said the model's body will remain refrigerated until he receives a judge's order.
Rale is executor of Smith's estate. He and Stern, a co-executor, are authorized to make funeral arrangements. Rale, however, told Associated Press Television News that Smith's mother was fighting to bring her body home to Texas for burial.
"I implore Anna Nicole's mother to do the best for her daughter, carry on with her wishes and her wish is not to go to Texas," Rale said.
Prince Frederic von Anhalt, the husband of the actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, has said he had a decade-long affair with Smith and may also be the father. He said Monday he plans to file a paternity challenge in court and wants a DNA test.
Starving the Baby?
In other news, TMZ has obtained an explosive legal document written by Smith's former nanny, which contains shocking accusations about her former boss, including suicide attempts, sex romps and a claim that Smith dangerously starved Dannielynn because "She wanted her baby to be 'sexy.'"
According to the sworn affidavit written in the Bahamas on Dec. 4, 2006, Quethlie Alexis claims she received repeated threats from Smith, aka Vickie Marshall, to "underfeed" Dannielynn because, "Ms. Marshall was obsessed with making sure that her baby was 'sexy.' Ms. Marshall knew that the correct amount of baby food was 3 ounces every 3 hours ... Ms. Marshall insisted that the maximum I was to give was 2.5 ounces."
Alexis claims that Smith enforced the order by "making sure the baby monitor was kept on all the time." Alexis adds Dannielynn "is badly underweight and not thriving, as a baby should."
According to the document, Alexis says that Smith threatened to "shoot her" if the baby ever addressed the nanny as "Mummy."
In the document, Alexis also claims that during her brief employment, Smith "attempted to commit suicide" on two separate occasions.
"On the first occasion, she drank in my presence an entire bottle of what I believed to be a sleeping aid."
Alexis claims that when Smith woke up from the resulting 48-hour coma, she blurted out the words "I wanted to die ... I meant to kill myself."
According to the documents, Alexis claims that Smith also "tried to drown herself" in her swimming pool. Alexis claims that Stern rescued Smith from the pool. Alexis claims she heard Stern say to Smith after the rescue, "If anything happens to you, I would go to jail."
The document also describes the "flagrant sexual relationship" between Smith and the Bahamian Minister of Immigration, Shane Gibson.
According to the affidavit, Alexis never witnessed Gibson and Smith having sex, but the former nanny claims the minister would, "spend hours alone with Ms. Marshall in her bedroom" on a "daily basis."
TMZ also obtained documents that show how an 8-months pregnant Smith used two different doctors to score methadone and Demerol — and the prescriptions may have been illegal.
TMZ obtained an air bill dated Aug. 8, 2006, that states a package containing Demerol (30 pills), a morphine-like drug, Dalmane (30 pills), a sleeping pill, and injectable vials of vitamin B12 were sent to Vickie Marshall in the Bahamas.
According to medical evidence, Demerol "crosses the placental barrier and can produce depression of respiration and psychophysiologic functions of the newborn. Resuscitation may be required."
TMZ has also obtained a prescription dated Aug. 25, 2006 written to a Michelle Chase for 500 ml of methadone (5mg/5ml solution). Michelle Chase was also a name used by Smith. According to California law, it's illegal to give a false name or false address "in connection with the prescribing, furnishing, administering or dispensing of a controlled substance."
TMZ has also obtained a separate air bill, dated the very same day, that shows a package containing 500 ml of methadone was sent to Vicky Marshall in the Bahamas.
Birkhead has said that one of these reasons he broke off his relationship with Smith was because she was doing drugs while pregnant. Birkhead has accused Stern of facilitating Smith's drug use.
Stern's sister, Bonnie Stern, reportedly said Tuesday that Smith had told her she was uncertain of the paternity of her daughter.
"When I spoke to (Smith) in March, when she found out she was pregnant, I took her shopping, and she told me the baby was due in mid-October, and that one other person could have been the father and that was Larry Birkhead, but nobody else."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.