Smith photos revive Bahamas scandal
EmptyNASSAU, Bahamas -- Photographs of Anna Nicole Smith in bed embracing the Bahamian immigration minister who approved her application for permanent residency here revived a political scandal in the islands Monday.
Also Monday, the son-in-law of the American developer embroiled in an ownership dispute over the Nassau mansion where Smith was living said he found methadone in her bedroom refrigerator when he went to secure the estate following her death in Florida last week.
A private pathologist has said methadone contributed to the death of Smith's 20-year-old son Daniel in the Bahamas in September. Daniel Smith died while visiting his mother and newborn half-sister in a Bahamas hospital and an inquest into his death in the Bahamas is planned.
Two photographs published on the front page of The Tribune of Nassau Monday showed Smith and Immigration Minister Shane Gibson, both fully clothed, embracing on a bed decorated with pink flowers and a white ribbon. In one of the photos, they look into each other's eyes, their faces only a couple of inches apart.
Gibson, an elected member of Parliament from the ruling Progressive Liberal Party, has already been accused of showing Smith preferential treatment by fast-tracking her residency application last year. With general elections due this spring, many said the photographs, taken in Smith's bedroom, could damage the ruling party.
Cassius Stuart, leader of the Bahamas Democratic Movement, said Gibson has "shamed" the Bahamas and called for him to resign.
"He should do the right thing and step down," he told reporters outside Smith's Nassau residence. The BDM is a small opposition party with no seats in parliament.
Gibson did not return calls seeking comment. But government spokesman Al Dillette dismissed any suggestion of impropriety.
"Minister Gibson is a friend of Anna Nicole, and that's all a matter of public record," he said.
John Marquis, managing editor of The Tribune, declined to say who provided the photographs. He said he published them because of their potential political impact.
"For the Bahamas, it's not just a salacious story," he said. "It's a story with pretty far-reaching political implications."
Ron Rale, a lawyer for Smith and representative of her most recent companion, Howard K. Stern, scrambled Monday to keep control over items he said were stolen from the mansion over the weekend, including images from a computer taken from the house.
Rale said anyone who disseminates the items without his prior written consent "will be held liable to the fullest extent of the law." Rale said police have recovered all the missing property.
Meanwhile, Ford Shelley, the son-in-law of developer G. Ben Thompson who once dated Smith, said he found the methadone Friday when he went to secure the house after Smith died Thursday in Florida.
Both Smith and Thompson claimed ownership of the $900,000 house. Thompson said he loaned Smith money for the house, but Smith claimed Thompson had given her the gated mansion as a gift.
Shelley told The Associated Press by telephone from Myrtle Beach, S.C., that he notified police about the drugs, saying he felt a responsibility to do so.
Shelley said he came to Nassau after hearing that Gibson's mother, who was reportedly caring for Smith's 5-month-old daughter during her trip to Florida, went to the house to remove some of the baby's things.
Stern has since reclaimed the mansion and is staying there with the baby, Dannielynn Hope Marshall Stern.
Stern said he is trying to keep Smith's mother, Vergie Arthur, from seeing Dannielynn. Arthur traveled from the United States and went to the gates of the mansion on Sunday.
Stern insisted that Smith hated her mother.
"She just despised that woman," Stern said, in a video segment broadcast Monday on ABC's "Good Morning America."
Arthur told "Good Morning America" that she fears for Dannielynn's safety, noting Stern had been present when Daniel Smith died.
"I do have a problem with her being with Howard Stern," Arthur said. "I had a daughter and I had a grandson. He was there when both of them died. Now I only have a granddaughter left, and now he has her, and I'm afraid for her."
Stern is listed on a birth certificate as Dannielynn's father. But two other men have challenged the paternity claim.
A former boyfriend, Larry Birkhead, has filed a lawsuit claiming he is the father. Arthur backs his claim.
Prince Frederic von Anhalt, the husband of actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, has said he had a decade-long affair with Smith and may be the father. He said Monday he plans to file a paternity challenge in court and wants a DNA test.
Since the death in 1995 of her 90-year-old husband, Texas oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II, Smith had been waging a court battle over his estate.