1. Headline
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Image: Bahamas newspaper
AP file
A woman looks at the Monday, Feb. 12, 2007 edition of The Tribune newspaper, from The Bahamas, that published undated photos of Anna Nicole Smith and her alleged relationship with Bahamian Immigration Minister Shane Gibson.
By
updated 12/22/2010 5:00:30 PM ET 2010-12-22T22:00:30

Anna Nicole Smith may have been just a "B-list celebrity," but she hit the Bahamas like a hurricane, spreading scandals that toppled a string of officials and endangered the whole government, according to newly leaked U.S. diplomatic cables.

The government fell two months after the last cable was written.

"Not since Category 4 Hurricane Betsy made landfall in 1965 has one woman done as much damage in Nassau," reads a colorful November 2006 document, apparently written by Deputy Chief of Mission D. Brent Hardt. It was released by WikiLeaks and published by the British newspaper The Guardian late Tuesday.

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"Lying in disarray in her wake are Doctor's Hospital, the Coroner's Court, the Department of Immigration, local mega-lawyers Callenders and Co., formerly popular Minister of Immigration Shane Gibson, and possibly Prime Minister Christie's PLP government," the diplomat added.

The cables, classified as confidential, described how Smith's remarkably rapid success in gaining permanent residency led to the ouster of Gibson while the alleged bungling of her son's treatment and death cut short the careers of several lesser officials while energizing the political opposition and the press.

The last cable was dated March 2007, two months before the Progressive Labor Party lost an election despite a strong local economy. It noted that the opposition Free National Movement "has used these scandals to seize the offensive in the run-up to elections."

The heiress, former Playboy playmate and reality TV star filed for legal residency in the Bahamas on Aug. 11, 2006, according to the cables, and was granted it about a month later, even though the process sometimes takes years and her ownership of a home — the basis for her application — was in dispute.

The cables note that Gibson, who approved the application, was hit by allegations he had received a $10,000 check and a $25,000 watch from Smith, who also allegedly hired his father to work on her yacht and his mother to baby-sit her children.

Officials denied any wrongdoing, the diplomat wrote, and said "glibly that the Ministry of Immigration should not be criticized for 'improved efficiencies in government for which it deserves praise.'"

Gibson finally resigned in February 2007 after a local newspaper published photographs of Gibson embracing Smith in her bed.

The diplomat said that before Smith arrived, Gibson was popular for tough anti-immigrant policies.

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"The Anna Nicole scandal has recast Gibson as puppet of the privileged rather than defender of the common people of The Bahamas."

Gibson did not reply to a request for comment.

Several local hospital and coroner's office officials also were removed following allegations of inefficiency or cover-ups in the death of her son Daniel.

Smith herself died in February 2007 at a Florida hotel and is buried in the Bahamas next to her 20-year-old son.

In October 2010, a boyfriend and two doctors accused of enabling Smith's prescription drug use were acquitted of most drug charges. But Howard K. Stern, Smith's boyfriend-lawyer, and Dr. Khristine Eroshevich, her psychiatrist, were convicted of conspiring to get her painkillers and sedatives.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: Anna Nicole Smith

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  1. Texas teen

    Anna Nicole Smith's photo is seen in a 1985 Mexia (Texas) High School yearbook under the name Nikki Hart. School officials say Smith went by the name Nikki Hart during her brief tenure there. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Short, tragic life

    The cover of the June 1993 Playmate of the Year issue of Playboy magazine featured Anna Nicole Smith. Smith, the pneumatic blonde whose life played out as an extraordinary tabloid tale -- jeans model, Playboy centerfold, widow of an octogenarian billionaire, reality-show subject, tragic mother -- died Thursday, Feb. 8, 2007, after collapsing at a Hollywood, Fla., hotel. She was 39. (Playboy) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. She had drive

    Smith holds a Texas license plate that reads "PMOY 93" (Playmate of the Year). (Time & Life Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Happy husband

    Millionaire J. Howard Marshall II made headlines in 1994 when he married Smith. She was 26 and he was 89. He died Aug. 5, 1995, when he was 90. Smith and Marshall's son, E. Pierce Marshall, battled over Marshall's estate. The boy next to Marshall is Smith's late son, Daniel. (Sipa Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Daniel's short life

    Smith and her son Daniel, 13, leave a federal courthouse in Los Angeles on Oct. 27, 1999. His body was found in the Bahamas on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2006. A coroner's report ruled the death was caused by an overdose of anti-depressants and methadone. (Nick Ut / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Fighting for her share

    Smith listens in court in Houston with her attorneys Tom Cunningham and Howard Stern on Monday, Oct. 2, 2000. Sixteen jurors, four of them alternates, were seated to hear the lawsuit where Smith laid claim to a share of the oil fortune of her deceased husband, J. Howard Marshall II. Smith married the Texas oil tycoon in 1994 and he died the following year. Stern later reportedly married Smith and claimed to be the father of Dannielynn Hope Marshall Stern. (Steve Ueckert / Pool via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Back to work

    Smith is surrounded by members of KISS at the conclusion of the Lane Bryant show featuring plus size fashions in New York on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2002. The legendary rock band gave a live performance throughout the runway show, which kicked off New York Fashion Week. (Robert Mecea / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Activist

    In this handout image from PETA, Smith poses as Marliyn Monroe for a 2004 ad campaign titled, Gentlemen Prefer Fur Free Blondes. PETA's Michael McGraw said in reaction to Smith's death, "She was a great friend to animals and used every opportunity to speak out against senseless cruelty." (PETA via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Hot pink

    Smith walks the runway at the Heatherette fashion show during Olympus Fashion Week in New York on Feb. 12, 2004. (Matthew Peyton / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Always outrageous

    Smith feigns a "wardrobe malfunction" before announcing Rikku in "Final Fantasy X-2" as the Hottest Character award winner during "G-Phoria -- The Award Show 4 Gamers" in Los Angeles on Aug. 1, 2004. (Jim Ruymen / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Strange behavior

    Smith waves during an appearance backstage during the Live 8 concert in Philadelphia on July 2, 2005. The production company behind the concerts claimed in a lawsuit against Trimspa Inc. that its reputation was damaged by Smith's attire and conduct. Smith, a spokesperson for Trimspa, was not named as a defendant in the lawsuit. (Coke Whitworth / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Wowing the Supremes

    Smith and her lawyer Howard K. Stern leave the U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 28, 2006. In a unanimous decision, the court ruled that Smith could continue her claim for part of her late husband's fortune. (Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Home sweet home?

    Smith holds her daughter Dannielyn Hope and poses with Stern and "Entertainment Tonight" co-host Mark Steines at the couple's home in the Bahamas on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2006. Businessman and former boyfriend G. Ben Thompson threatened to evict Smith from her Bahamas home, claiming she wasn't making the mortgage payments. (Entertainment Tonight via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. No sign of trouble

    Smith watched a boxing match from near ringside at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Fla., on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2007. She died Feb. 8, 2007. (Hans Deryk / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. A mother mourns

    Smith's mother, Virgie Arthur, center, and her husband James Arthur, left, embrace as the coffin of Anna Nicole leaves a Bahamas church on March 2, 2007, as the former Playboy model headed to her final resting three weeks after her death. A throng of Bahamians, tourists and media crushed behind police barriers as the pink-laced white coffin was carried into the Mount Horeb Baptist Cathedral in Nassau, Bahamas, for a funeral ceremony closed to all but 300 invited guests.The church was reportedly filled with pink roses, and sources close to the funeral said Smith's body was clad in a gown and tiara. (Robert Sullivan / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Laid to rest

    Locals stand before the grave of Smith at the Lakeview Memorial Gardens in Nassau, Bahamas, on March 2, 2007. (Robert Sullivan / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. 'I told you so!'

    Larry Birkhead rejoices after hearing in a Bahamian court on April 10, 2007, that he has been proven to be the legal father of Smith's baby, Dannielynn. Birkhead later hugged Howard K. Stern, who had been acting as the baby's father. (Christine Aylen / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Derby day with daughter

    Birkhead and Dannielynn feed a pony at the Kentucky Derby Museum in Louisville, Ky., on Wednesday, April 28. 2010. Birkhead, a Louisville native, first met Anna Nicole at a 2004 party around the famous horse race. (Charlie Riedel / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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