Attorney: Stern Unfairly Cast As Enabler

This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," February 22, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Here with us outside the courthouse is Bruce Ross, one of the lawyers for Howard K. Stern, who, of course, is one the parties to this litigation. Bruce, nice to see you.


VAN SUSTEREN: Bruce, was your client treated with dignity and fairness in this courtroom?

ROSS: I think he was. I think he was. Like any trial, there were issues, particularly with respect to Anna's drug use. I don't think the public appreciates perhaps how much Howard himself did to help Anna with her drug problems. He was, I think quite unfairly, pictured at times as an enabler. That he is not. But in the end, I think his position was completely vindicated. He wanted, as Anna wanted, to have her buried next to her beloved son, Daniel.

VAN SUSTEREN: He got whacked pretty badly yesterday in the courtroom.

ROSS: No question.

VAN SUSTEREN: Today the witnesses easier on him or did they rehabilitate him in some ways?

ROSS: Well, I think the fact of the matter is, as your colleague just mentioned, all of us have strengths and weaknesses, and some of the great strengths of Mr. Birkhead yesterday were perhaps contrasted a little bit today with some weaknesses, just as Howard's strengths and weaknesses were discussed at great length in the first two days of trial.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, these — you know, Howard's a lawyer, and these proceedings are so tough on clients. What I don't get — and this is the question, I'm sure, that everyone puts to you, is — why not, if he let that child have simply a swab from her cheek of DNA, that would at least put some end to some of this heartache for a lot of people. Why not?

ROSS: Well, you know, at some point, I think that will happen. But the fact of the matter is that paternity, despite the efforts of some to make it an issue in this three days of trial, is not an issue. The only question, as the judge himself said at the end, was where should Anna's remains be laid.

VAN SUSTEREN: Indeed. Indeed. That's the issue in this court. But the bigger global issue, to quote the judge — I think that was the term he used — is that, you know — I mean, the big thing is that child, and the child needs to be with a parent, whether it's Howard K. Stern or whether it's Larry Birkhead. And this sort gamesmanship of not doing it, when it can be done so swiftly and end so much heartache, that's what I think hurts your client the most.

ROSS: Well, I hear what you're saying, Greta, but I respectfully disagree. I don't think we're talking about gamesmanship. We have many legal proceedings pending. In California...


VAN SUSTEREN: You got a billion!

ROSS: ... Florida...

VAN SUSTEREN: You could get rid of all of it!

ROSS: ... the Bahamas...

VAN SUSTEREN: You know what? You could get rid of every single one of them and your client can get on with his life, either as the father of the child or not. But he won't. He's stubborn. And that's what troubles people.

ROSS: Well, I'm sorry it troubles you, but the fact of the matter is, those matters are before other courts with the proper jurisdiction. They will be decided. They will be decided soon. And I'd like to point out that one of the key issues here that, of course, again, was not part of this trial, what is — Anna had a will drafted many years ago which names Mr. Stern as trustee...


ROSS: And...

VAN SUSTEREN: Let me tell you...

ROSS: ...establishes a trust...


ROSS: ...for her daughter.

VAN SUSTEREN: I agree. I agree. Your client has rights. He's got — there are all sorts of...

ROSS: Thank you.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... court proceedings. He's got all of them. But he's being stupid.

ROSS: Well...

VAN SUSTEREN: That's the problem. He could end a lot of this, and that's the major problem.

ROSS: OK, that's your view. It's not my view. And again, we have courts who are going to decide the issue of paternity.

VAN SUSTEREN: And we would — and I hope you come back when it's finally resolved and...

ROSS: I'll be happy to come back.

VAN SUSTEREN: And you know, congratulations. I think it's probably a victory to — to the wishes of Anna, as your client says they are.

ROSS: Well, and as the court said and as I think the overwhelming evidence said, as well. Thank you very much.

VAN SUSTEREN: And two main witnesses at the end who were significant.

ROSS: Yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: But anyway, all right, Bruce, thank you.

ROSS: Thank you.

VAN SUSTEREN: When will Anna Nicole's body be taken from here in Florida to the Bahamas? The judge has asked Dr. Perper to escort the body to the Bahamas. Let's bring in Dr. Joshua Perper, the Broward County medical examiner. Welcome, Doctor.


VAN SUSTEREN: Doctor, do you have the written order yet, I mean, which gives you the authority to release that body?

PERPER: I received a faxed order, but I will receive a certified one, so that would be the one which would prompt the action on my part. Basically, I'm ordered to remit the body to the guardian for the child, and I'll do so. And as you mentioned, I'm going to accompany, at judge's request, the guardian with the body to the Bahamas to make sure that, indeed, everything proceeds satisfactorily.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Now, I think that's odd, but correct — but maybe you can explain why. But it seems to me that the order goes to you, and whoever comes to get the body, you then release the body, and that's the end of it. Why are you — why do you think the judge wants you to escort the body to the Bahamas?

PERPER: Well, my understanding is that the judge wanted me to assist the guardian in making sure that all the procedural steps are taken properly. I really don't have a better explanation, and hopefully, the judge could provide it, if you'd ask him.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Dr. Perper, thank you, sir.

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