Howard K. Stern

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This article is about the attorney. For the radio host, see Howard Stern.

Howard Kevin Stern (born November 29, 1968) is an American attorney. He is the former domestic partner, attorney and agent of model and actress Anna Nicole Smith.[1][2] He became known as a co-star on Smith's 2002–2004 reality television series The Anna Nicole Show.

Early life[edit]

Stern was born to a Jewish[3] family and raised in Los Angeles, California. He graduated with a B.A. degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1990[4] and received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Los Angeles. He was admitted to the State Bar of California on February 25, 1994.[5][6]

Career and relationship with Anna Nicole Smith[edit]

Stern's law firm first handled Anna Nicole Smith's modeling contracts in the mid 1990s. Stern met Anna Nicole Smith in 1997, two years after the death of her husband J. Howard Marshall. When she fought for the Marshall's fortune, Stern presented her direct examination at the trial. Stern's law firm was dissolved around the time he became a co-star on The Anna Nicole Show (2002 - 2004).[7] Stern maintained an apartment in Santa Monica, California, from which he operated a business called Hot Smoochie Lips, Inc.,[8] a talent agency that had Anna Nicole Smith as a client.

On September 10, 2006, Stern was with Smith when her son, Daniel Wayne Smith, died in Nassau, Bahamas, while visiting his mother and newborn half-sister. Bahamian Police and the Inquest declared Daniel's death as an accidental overdose on antidepressants and methadone. No foul play was involved.[9]

On September 28, 2006, Stern and Smith exchanged wedding vows in a legally nonbinding ceremony in Nassau, Bahamas. The ceremony was officiated by a Baptist minister.[10]

Smith died on February 8, 2007, less than five months after Daniel. According to the Florida court overseeing her estate, Smith left everything to Daniel in a 16-page will that named Stern as executor of the Estate.[11]

On February 21, 2007, hearings commenced before the Hon. Larry Seidlin in Florida's Broward County Circuit Court over the disposition of Smith's remains. Denying motions by Smith's mother Virgie Mae Tabers Arthur and Stern, Seidlin awarded custody of Smith's body to her infant daughter, Dannielynn Hope Marshall Stern via attorney Richard Milstein, whom Seidlin appointed the baby's guardian ad litem. Smith was buried next to Daniel in the Bahamas.[12]

Paternity dispute[edit]

On September 26, 2006, Stern claimed in an interview with Larry King on CNN that he was Dannielynn's father; celebrity photographer Larry Birkhead also claimed that he was Dannielynn's father.[13] The Bahamian birth certificate lists the daughter's name as Dannielynn Hope Marshall Stern with Howard K. Stern as the father.[14] Stern and Smith were reportedly staying in the Bahamas to avoid paternity testing in the United States.[15]

On February 9, 2007, following the death of Anna Nicole Smith, it was revealed that Stern had custody of Smith's child, Dannielynn.[16] Alexander Denk, Frédéric Prinz von Anhalt, the current husband of actress Zsa Zsa Gabor also claimed to be the father of the baby girl and threatened to file a lawsuit for custody.[17]

On April 10, 2007, a Bahamian court determined from DNA evidence presented by court-appointed DNA expert Dr. Michael L. Baird that Larry Birkhead is the father of Dannielynn.[18] Stern announced that he would not contest the ruling and would help Birkhead obtain sole custody. The court ordered Stern to pay $10,000 in court costs for the abandoned appeal.[19]

Prosecution for conspiracy[edit]

On March 13, 2009, the California Attorney General and Los Angeles County District Attorney announced that they would be charging Stern, Dr. Sandeep Kapoor and Dr. Khristine Eroshevich of conspiring to "commit the crimes of prescribing, administering and dispensing controlled substances to an addict" and "unlawfully prescribing a controlled substance" in regards to the death of Anna Nicole Smith.[1] Stern, described as the "principal enabler", faces six felony counts.[2]

The trial began August 4, 2010, in Los Angeles. Stern, Kapoor and Eroshevich pleaded not guilty. Prosecutor Renee Rose read from Kapoor's journal about alleged improper contact with Smith. Stern's lawyer Steven Sadow said his client claimed to have depended on the knowledge of the doctors.[20]

On October 28, 2010, Stern and Dr. Eroshevich were found guilty, but Kapoor was acquitted.[21][22] All but one of these convictions, however, were set aside three months later by Judge Robert Perry in a ruling handed down on January 6, 2011, in Los Angeles. The judge indicated there had been no evidence brought forth to show that Stern intended to break the law by using assumed names to acquire multiple drug prescriptions for Ms. Smith. The single conviction which remained standing, a felony charge of fraud against Dr. Eroshevich, was reduced to a misdemeanor. Judge Perry then ordered the doctor to serve twelve months probation, and fined her $100.[citation needed]

On July 22, 2015, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert J. Perry dismissed two felony convictions against Mr. Stern for the second time. In his ruling, Superior Court Judge Perry exclaimed, "this case reeks of unfairness," adding that he believed the prosecutors "seemed to unfairly targeted Stern because he was public figure" and noting that the trial had already cost the taxpayers in a excess of a $500,000. [23]

Libel and defamation lawsuits[edit]

L. Lin Wood was the lead attorney for Howard K. Stern in the Rita Cosby libel suit.[24][25][26] The Defamation suit against Texas lawyer John O'Quinn, and defended Howard K. Stern in defamation case brought by Smith's estranged mother Virgie Arthur. Mrs. Arthur's lawsuit was dismissed before the trial in 2010 after TMZ, CBS and other defendants won summary judgment. Lin Wood also represented Howard K. Stern as the Executor of Smith's Estate in federal action against developer G. Ben Thompson of South Carolina, his son-in-law Ford Shelley Jr., Susan M. Brown, Esq. for misappropriation and theft of estate property.

Journalist Rita Cosby alleged in the book Blonde Ambition: The Untold Story Behind Anna Nicole Smith's Death, released on September 4, 2007, that Smith's nannies revealed that a sex tape existed of Howard K. Stern and former rival Larry Birkhead engaged in a homosexual relationship. However, a lawyer for the nannies threatened to file suit, claiming that the nannies never spoke about such an encounter between Stern and Birkhead.[27] After Stern filed a $60-million libel suit against Cosby and her publisher in October 2007,[28] a spokesperson for the nannies claimed that Cosby offered bribes in an unsuccessful attempt to contact the nannies.[29]

In July 2009, in a court hearing on whether to dismiss the lawsuit, Stern's attorney claimed that in deposition of the suits, Cosby admitted there was no videotape and could not prove other allegations. Cosby replied to the Stern lawsuit by saying "…we are solid on our facts more than ever…we are sure of what we have. I think it's pretty surprising that these guys would launch some frivolous lawsuit to deflect and to smear and to intimidate and it's not going to work."[30][dead link][31] In August 2009, federal judge Denny Chin ruled that "Cosby's actions are extremely troubling, and suggest that she was attempting to obstruct justice by tampering with witnesses" and allowed most of Stern's US$60-million lawsuit against Cosby and her publisher, Hachette, to proceed.[32] Three months later, the lawsuit was withdrawn as settled,[33] but no information has been released on the terms of this out-of-court settlement.


  1. ^ a b Rong-Gong Lin II and Harriet Ryan. "Anna Nicole Smith's boyfriend, doctors charged with supplying her with drugs." Los Angeles Times. March 13, 2009.
  2. ^ a b Watkings, Thomas (March 14, 2009). "AG: Anna Nicole Smith's boyfriend was 'enabler'". Fox News.
  3. ^ "Anna Nicole Smith - Anna Nicole Found Comfort in Judaism." April 2, 2008. "Anna embraced all religions, and followed the Jewish tradition out of respect for (companion) Howard K. Stern by covering all the mirrors in the house because she was in mourning."
  4. ^ UC Berkeley website
  5. ^ "Howard Kevin Stern - #169888". The State Bar of California. Retrieved 2007-02-12. 
  6. ^ "Mr Howard Kevin Stern, Attorney". Retrieved November 18, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Who Is Howard K. Stern?". Access Hollywood. Retrieved 2007-02-14. 
  8. ^ "Beyond Anna Nicole, just who is Howard K. Stern?". Houston Chronicle. Archived from the original on 2007-02-21. Retrieved 2007-02-12. 
  9. ^ Daniel Smith died from accidental overdose
  10. ^ "Anna Nicole Smith weds in the Bahamas".
  11. ^ "Anna Nicole Smith's will leaves everything to dead son". CNN. Retrieved 2007-02-16. 
  12. ^ "Judge leaves Smith decision with baby guardian". MSNBC. Retrieved 2007-02-23. 
  13. ^ "Attorney: I'm Anna Nicole's baby's daddy". CNN. Retrieved 2006-09-26. 
  14. ^ "Anna Nicole Smith Names Howard K Stern as Dad on Birth Certificate". The National Ledger. Retrieved 2006-10-11. 
  15. ^ "Anna Nicole Smith back in hospital". In the News. Retrieved 2006-11-01. 
  16. ^ "Attorney: Stern Has Custody Of Anna's Baby". ShowBuzz (CBS News). 2007-02-09. Retrieved 2007-02-09. 
  17. ^ "Zsa Zsa Gabor's husband: I could be Smith baby's father". CNN. Archived from the original on February 11, 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-09. 
  18. ^ "DNA Test: Birkhead Is Dannielynn's Father". People. 2007-04-10. Retrieved 2007-04-10. 
  19. ^ "After DNA test, Birkhead ruled Smith's baby's dad". CNN. 2007-04-10. Retrieved 2007-04-10. 
  20. ^ Dillon, Nancy (2010-08-04). "Anna Nicole Smith trial begins: Model's Svengali boyfriend Howard K. Stern, two doctors in court". Daily News (New York). Retrieved 2010-08-10. 
  21. ^ "Anna Nicole's boyfriend, psychiatrist guilty of conspiracy". Today. October 29, 2010.
  22. ^ "Howard K. Stern, psychiatrist convicted of conspiracy in Anna Nicole Smith prescription drug case". Associated Press/Estate of Denial. October 28, 2009.
  23. ^ ET Canada|Blog- Case Dismissed for the 2nd time against Howard K. Stern in Anna Nicole Smith od trial
  24. ^ "Howard K. Stern files slander lawsuit". Today. MSNBC. April 13, 2007.
  25. ^ "Stern sues Anna Nicole Smith's mother's lawyer". CNN. April 13, 2007.
  26. ^ Van Susteren, Greta (April 8, 2008). "Howard K. Stern Goes 'On the Record'". Originally aired on On the Record w/ Greta Van Susteren. Transcript published April 9, 2008 by Fox News.
  27. ^ "Anna Nicole nannies sue Rita Cosby over sex tape scandal". Daily News (New York). 2007-10-09. 
  28. ^ "Howard K. Stern sues Rita Cosby for $60M over Birkhead gay sex claim". Fox News. 2007-10-03. 
  29. ^ Greta Van Susteren (2007-10-12). "Spokesman for Anna Nicole's Nannies Goes 'On the Record'". Fox News. 
  30. ^ "Rita Cosby Fires Back at Lawsuit, Compares Anna Nicole to Britney Spears". 2007-10-04. Retrieved 2007-10-08. 
  31. ^ "New York Times Best Seller List". Longview Public Library. 2007-09-30. Archived from the original on August 20, 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-08. 
  32. ^ Judge Chin's comments re Cosby's book
  33. ^ Rose Speaks,withdrawn as settled

External links[edit]