Anna Nicole Smith's Lawyer Howard K. Stern Is Now a Public Defender

The attorney turned quasi-husband of the late reality TV star and Playboy pinup has resurfaced with a new job in Los Angeles.
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Howard K. Stern

Remember Howard K. Stern? The lawyer turned quasi-husband of reality TV star and Playboy pinup Anna Nicole Smith, who died in 2007, has resurfaced with a new job.

Sources tell THR that Stern, 50, reported for work at the L.A. County Public Defenders Office. "I can confirm that Howard K. Stern was hired June 3, 2019, as a deputy public defender," says public information officer Pamela Johnson.

Stern, a graduate of UC Berkeley and UCLA School of Law, met Smith in 1998 when she sued for the estate of her husband, oilman J. Howard Marshall. Stern stopped practicing when he began appearing on Smith's eponymous E! reality show, and the two performed a nonbinding commitment ceremony just months before Smith died from a prescription-drug overdose. A felony conviction against Stern for using fake names on Smith's prescriptions was dismissed in 2015.

The L.A. County Public Defenders Office has 36 offices employing more than 1,100 employees including lawyers, paralegals, investigators, psychiatric social workers and administrative staff. Per the office's mission statement: "Public Defenders provide legal representation to indigent criminal defendants and juveniles in the Superior Court of the County as well as in state and federal appellate courts. The department strives to defend the liberties of indigent clients, protect their rights, and advocate for clients’ access to resources in order to be productive members of the community."

Stern declined comment for this story.

A version of this story first appeared in the June 19 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.