A judge approved the embalming of Anna Nicole Smith’s remains Friday as he tried to broker an agreement among the three people fighting over the former Playboy Playmate’s body.
Lengthy legal fights still loomed over where she will be buried and who will get custody of her infant daughter. The hearing over Smith’s final resting place was already in its third day.
“We’re beginning to give her peace,” Circuit Judge Larry Seidlin said.
Smith’s will was presented to the court as evidence, and Seidlin refused requests by both sides to keep it private. It was to be released Friday afternoon.
“I don’t want any secrets here,” the judge said.
The proceedings moved out of Seidlin’s chambers and into a courtroom to accommodate the horde of media and attorneys. The hearing stopped around noon for the holiday weekend and was set to resume Tuesday.
Seidlin warned attorneys he would schedule as many sessions as it takes to resolve the issue. He ordered Smith’s longtime companion, Howard K. Stern, who did not attend Friday’s hearing, to appear in court Tuesday since he is trying to get control of her remains.
“This is a struggle for all of us,” the judge said. “Let everyone perspire here.”
Stern claims he is executor of her will and wants her buried next to her son in the Bahamas. Smith’s estranged mother, Virgie Arthur, wants her buried in her home state of Texas.
Photographer Larry Birkhead hopes Smith’s DNA will help prove he fathered the former centerfold’s 5-month-old daughter, Dannielynn, who could inherit millions of dollars. Stern is listed as the father on the girl’s birth certificate.
On Thursday, Seidlin ordered that additional DNA be taken, saying he wanted to make sure her body wouldn’t have to be exhumed.
Smith, 39, died Feb. 8 after collapsing at a Florida hotel.
On Wednesday, Seidlin declared Smith’s corpse would stay refrigerated in the medical examiner’s office until he said otherwise.
In California, von Anhalt, the husband of actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, filed legal documents Thursday seeking a DNA test to determine if he fathered the baby. Von Anhalt, who says he is 59, has said he and Smith had a decade-long affair.
Also in California on Thursday, the state medical board said it is investigating a doctor who may have prescribed methadone to Smith through a prescription that contained an alias.
The Medical Board of California began looking at Dr. Sandeep Kapoor after receiving information about possible misconduct, board spokeswoman Candis Cohen said. Cohen declined to give details on the allegation or its source but said it was connected to Smith.
Among other things, the board is investigating whether it is legal to prescribe drugs for someone using an alias, Cohen said. She described the review as routine and said the board is obligated to review all allegations of physician misconduct.
A woman who answered the telephone at a listing for Kapoor in Los Angeles hung up when The Associated Press called Thursday.
Smith was the widow of Texas oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II, whom she married in 1994 when he was 89 and she was 26. She had been fighting his family over his fortune since his death in 1995.