Anna Nicole Smith's lawyer-turned-partner has hired a prominent Atlanta attorney to represent him in possible litigation against media companies he believes are falsely implicating him in the death of former Playboy Playmate and her son, Daniel.
Lin Wood said he had been retained by Howard K. Stern, who is one of three men claiming to be the father of the starlet's infant daughter.
Wood, who has handled a number of high profile cases — including representing the family of slain child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey — made the announcement in a statement released Monday, saying he was retained after meetings over the weekend in the Bahamas, where Smith and Stern lived as a couple before her death in February.
"My representation of Mr. Stern will focus on those individuals and entities guilty of making false accusations of criminal conduct against him related to the tragic deaths of Anna Nicole Smith and her son, Daniel," Wood said in the release.
"Mr. Stern is an innocent individual who has never been charged with any crime but finds himself on trial in the media. The nightly television, tabloid and Internet trial of Mr. Stern in the court of public opinion based on sensational lies, speculation, rumor and gossip is over."
Daniel Smith died Sept. 10 as he visited his mother three days after she gave birth in a Nassau hospital to her daughter, Dannielynn.
In the release, Wood also said he would represent Stern, named the executor of Smith's will, in pursuing "those individuals and entities responsible for the theft of personal property of Ms. Smith and/or its unlawful use, sale or other misappropriation in the media."
Dr. Joshua Perper, the Broward County medical examiner, ruled that Smith died of an accidental overdose of the sleeping medication chloral hydrate and at least eight other prescription drugs, along with a case of the flu and a bacterial infection from injecting drugs into her buttocks.
Smith had been taking a lengthy list of medications, including methadone and valium, but those drugs were at therapeutic levels, Perper said. Smith also had been on several antidepressant and antianxiety drugs and had recently taken longevity medications, vitamin B12 and growth hormone, the medical examiner said.
The release of the report marked the end of the Seminole Police Department's investigation and halted — at least temporarily — widespread rumors that Smith may have been murdered.
"The Medical Examiner concluded that the death of Anna Nicole Smith was accidental," Wood said in the release. "No one has produced any evidence to rebut this conclusion because no such evidence exists. To those considering making future false accusations against Mr. Stern, please consider the following advice: don't do it."