Howard K. Stern
Howard Kevin Stern (born November 29, 1968) is an American attorney based in Santa Monica, California. He is the former domestic partner, attorney and agent of model and actress Anna Nicole Smith. He became known as a co-star on Smith's 2002–2004 reality television series The Anna Nicole Show.
Stern was born to a Jewish family and raised in Los Angeles, California. He graduated with a B.A. degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1990 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.
Career and relationship with Anna Nicole Smith
Stern's law firm first handled Anna Nicole Smith's modeling contracts in the mid 1990s. Stern met Anna Nicole Smith in 1998, 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). Stern maintained an apartment in Santa Monica, California, from which he operated a business called Hot Smoochie Lips, Inc., 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 Dannielynn. Bahamian Police and the Inquest declared Daniel's death as an accidental overdose on antidepressants and methadone. No foul play was involved.
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.
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.
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 Hart 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.
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. The Bahamian birth certificate lists the daughter's name as Dannielynn Hope Marshall Stern with Howard K. Stern as the father.
On February 9, 2007, following the death of Anna Nicole Smith, it was revealed that Stern had custody of Smith's child, Dannielynn. 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.
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. 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.
Prosecution for conspiracy
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," they were not accused of causing Smith's death in 2007.
The trial began August 4, 2010, in Los Angeles. Stern, Drs Sandeep 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 relied in a good faith on the medical judgement of Smith's doctors on what was right and necessary for her chronic pain.
On October 28, 2010, Stern and Dr. Eroshevich were found guilty, but Kapoor was acquitted. 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. The judge indicated there had been no evidence brought forth to show that Stern intended to break the law by using assumed names to protect Smith's privacy. 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.
On July 22, 2015, judge Robert J. Perry dismissed the felony conviction 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 have unfairly targeted Stern because he was a public figure" and noting that the trial had already cost the taxpayers in an excess of a $500,000.
Libel and defamation lawsuits
L. Lin Wood was the lead attorney for Howard K. Stern in the libel lawsuit against Rita Cosby; defamation suit against Virgie Arthur's lawyer John O'Quinn, and in defamation case brought by Anna Nicole 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. 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. After Stern filed a $60-million libel suit against Cosby and her publisher in October 2007, a spokesperson for the nannies claimed that Cosby offered bribes in an unsuccessful attempt to contact the nannies.
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. " In Cosby's videotaped deposition given in a $60 million libel suit against her filed by Howard K. Stern, Cosby said her sources for the gay sex tape were private investigators Don Clark of Houston and his associate Wilma Vicedomine. They were hired by attorney John O'Quinn who represented Virgie Arthur. Attorney O'Quinn used the same strategy before in corporate litigations, a death by a thousand cuts, Lin Wood explained.
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. Three months later, the lawsuit was withdrawn as settled, but no information has been released on the terms of this out-of-court settlement.
- Howard K. Stern, Santa Monica, California.
- California Birth Index, 1905 - 1995 - Search - Ancestry.com - Howard K. Stern http://www.californiabirthindex.org/birth/howard_k_stern_born_1968_10398517
- "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."
- UC Berkeley website
- "Howard Kevin Stern - #169888". The State Bar of California. Retrieved 2007-02-12.
- "Mr Howard Kevin Stern, Attorney". Lawyer.com. Retrieved November 18, 2015.
- Who exactly is Howard K. Stern?. People.com February 09, 2007.
- "Beyond Anna Nicole, just who is Howard K. Stern?". Houston Chronicle. Archived from the original on 2007-02-21. Retrieved 2007-02-12.
- "Daniel Smith died from accidental overdose" OK magazine, March 31, 2008.
- "Anna Nicole Smith weds in the Bahamas". hollywood.com.
- "Anna Nicole Smith's will leaves everything to dead son". CNN. Retrieved 2007-02-16.
- "Judge leaves Smith decision with baby guardian". MSNBC. Retrieved 2007-02-23.
- "Attorney: I'm Anna Nicole's baby's daddy". CNN. Retrieved 2006-09-26.
- "Anna Nicole Smith Names Howard K Stern as Dad on Birth Certificate". The National Ledger. Retrieved 2006-10-11.
- "Attorney: Stern Has Custody Of Anna's Baby". ShowBuzz (CBS News). 2007-02-09. Retrieved 2007-02-09.
- "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.
- "DNA Test: Birkhead Is Dannielynn's Father". People. 2007-04-10. Retrieved 2007-04-10.
- "After DNA test, Birkhead ruled Smith's baby's dad". CNN. 2007-04-10. Retrieved 2007-04-10.
- "Trial set for August in Anna Nicole Smith case". Associated Press, ABC.com February 5, 2010.
- "Lawyers make opening statements in Anna Nicole Smith trial". Associated Press, Linda Deutsch, MSN.com August 4, 2010.
- "Anna Nicole's boyfriend, psychiatrist guilty of conspiracy". Today. October 29, 2010.
- "Anna Nicole's ex wins court victory". Belfast Telegraph, UK 06/01/2011
- Judge dismisses drug conviction against Anna Nicole Smith boyfriend. TheGuardian.com UK 6 January 2011.
- "Case dismissed for the 2nd time against Howard K. Stern in Anna Nicole Smith od trial". ET Canada July 22, 2015
- "Howard K. Stern files slander lawsuit". Today. MSNBC. April 13, 2007.
- "Stern sues Anna Nicole Smith's mother's lawyer". CNN. April 13, 2007.
- 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.
- "Virgie Arthur Defamers? Those she sued fire back: Stern, CBS, KPRC-TV: All ask how can anyone defame Virgie,LOL? Lawsuits removed to federal court". TheBaldTruth | ArtHarris.com, 2007/11/07.
- "Anna Nicole nannies sue Rita Cosby over sex tape scandal". Daily News. New York. 2007-10-09.
- "Howard K. Stern sues Rita Cosby for $60M over Birkhead gay sex claim". Fox News. 2007-10-03.
- Greta Van Susteren (2007-10-12). "Spokesman for Anna Nicole's Nannies Goes 'On the Record'". Fox News.
- "Rita Cosby Fires Back at Lawsuit, Compares Anna Nicole to Britney Spears". ExtraTV.com. 2007-10-04. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-08.
- "Bald Truth Exclusive: "Gay sex" tape sources! Rita Cosby swears: "It's Don Clark and Wilma PI". TheBaldTruth |ArtHarris.com, 2007/12/03.
- Judge Chin's comments re Cosby's book
- "Howard K. Stern settles defamation case" Newshub.co.nz