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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
More on Anna Nicole Smith's Death
Aired February 9, 2007 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, what killed Anna Nicole?
The latest on her autopsy, the drugs found in her room, the stories that she was ill before her death yesterday and what now for her baby daughter?
All sides in the paternity battle will speak out right here, including the latest man to join in, the prince who is Zsa Zsa Gabor's husband.
It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
We begin with the Ron Rale, the attorney for Anna Nicole Smith.
How long did you represent her?
RON RALE, ANNA NICOLE SMITH'S ATTORNEY: In this paternity case?
I mean this began about October 4 on that emergency ex parte when Mr. Birkhead requested DNA testing. And the case is, as of today, you know, we're unsure if I'm still representing her or not. She's no longer a part...
KING: Most people, Ron, would say why are you afraid of the DNA?
You're either the father or your not -- take the DNA.
RALE: And, Larry, if I get talking on this, I might go for a while. But I have a pretty simple answer. And that's that Anna Nicole has never refused to do the DNA. She was ready to do the DNA test as ordered on January 23rd.
And I'm not sure if you're -- if you were aware of what happened on that day. I know that there -- I think I actually saw it on your show. Maybe there was a text message that Mr. Birkhead referenced about Anna Nicole saying I'm not going to show up or I'll never do it.
Anna Nicole never intended to not comply with the order. I told Anna Nicole you're not going forward with the DNA on the 23rd because I'm going into court because as it was set up at that point, the test, we believed, was illegal.
So it could have been if Anna submitted to that test, if the scientists had taken the samples without the proper work permit, without registering the California order, Anna could, in fact, have been subject to deportation.
KING: But you still have to do the baby, right?
RALE: Well, this was for the baby. This was the test -- they were going to draw the DNA from Anna and the baby at the time.
KING: But legal, illegal, fractional, judicial, don't you want to know?
RALE: Yes, I want to know and...
KING: And in that tandem -- doesn't Howard want to know? Doesn't Larry want to -- doesn't anybody? Would you like to know?
RALE: Yes, and we have, you know, in the scheme of things this hasn't really gone on that long. It's a relatively new case. And if this case would have been filed in the Bahamas by Mr. Birkhead from the beginning, maybe we already would.
You know, most of his case has been dismissed. I know that on your show, they represented that the custody is still pending in Los Angeles. It's not.
The court in Los Angeles said custody jurisdiction is not here. His requests for drug testing on the child were denied. The request to return the child.
Today, when I was in court this morning, Mr. Birkhead asked again for the court to order the child, Dannie Lynn, back to Los Angeles. It was denied.
So, if he had gone to the Bahamas, where the rest of this case is supposed to be, we might be further along.
KING: Wouldn't it be tragic, Ron, to have this child be a year old, a year-and-a-half, and then find out that Howard isn't the father? Wouldn't that be tragic for the child -- for everybody concerned?
RALE: Yes, I mean...
KING: Wouldn't sooner be better?
RALE: Of course. And, really, what I've maintained -- and this is where, you know, I've taken the blame of digging in my heels -- just because Anna Nicole is a celebrity doesn't mean that she should be treated differently than any other person. Just because Mr. Birkhead can come on TV in Los Angeles and call her out and ask for DNA testing, doesn't mean that she has to give up her right to have court supervision.
KING: But do you agree there should be a DNA test?
RALE: I agree. And, in fact, one way or another, it will happen. I mean all we're trying to do is move the process along and the right court have the test occur.
KING: I know you told me before we started you spoke to Howard, I think, today...
RALE: Yes. Yes.
KING: And he wanted you to say something on his behalf?
RALE: Well, no, it's not necessarily that. Just the last couple of weeks we had talked about possibly coming on your show and before all of this happened. And, you know, when I saw this show and I talked about it with Anna and Howard just -- when they were on last week or so -- and I think there was a reference to Howard being a Svengali...
KING: When Larry was on.
RALE: I'm sorry, when -- I'm sorry. When Larry was on. And, really, that's -- that's not a fair characterization at all. And I can just tell you that just firsthand, even the past several months, witnessing the relationship between Howard and Anna, it was a true relationship. It was true love.
Howard always placed Anna first. And just, you know, by way of an example, I mean I probably mediated several little marital type disputes between them, just typical disputes that you'd have with a couple raising a new baby. Everybody's tired. Anna complaining about changing diapers and Howard doing his fair share and Howard complaining -- Anna complained that, you know, Howard wasn't giving her enough attention. I mean it was a true love affair.
And, really, even with all of these things going on -- like in the Bahamas, the inquest where, of course, you know, Daniel's death, I believe -- and I know that Howard had nothing to do with it, but there's all kinds of rumors about Howard having a part of that.
And, of course, if you're facing something like that, if you're Howard Stern, you'd be somewhat nervous. We all would.
RALE: But Howard placed Anna first. He was worried about Anna more than himself.
KING: How is he doing?
RALE: He's a wreck. I mean really, I was -- I was really concerned last night when I had talked to Howard. I -- I thought that I needed to be there, too, because...
KING: He might harm himself? RALE: Well, I don't want to say that, but I would call it despair. I think that his world just came crashing down and I'm glad his family was able to get there.
But I had some real serious concerns. And I still think it's day by day. I'm not saying that there's a danger to Howard. But he's not in good shape.
KING: He's in Florida now?
RALE: He's in Florida.
KING: How -- and is the baby also in Florida?
RALE: The baby is in the Bahamas and Howard's mother and his sister are taking care of the baby right now. And Howard hopes to be there soon.
KING: What was Anna Nicole's state of mind at her passing? How soon before she died had you spoken with her?
RALE: Either the day before or two days before. And I know that Anna had been running a fever a couple of days before she passed away and I know that Howard had been applying ice packs to her. I think it was, you know, somewhere high, like 104. And -- it was high, a high fever.
And really, I -- the one memory I have of just the last conversation with Anna was that she was sad because she really missed Dannie Lynn. And it was just kind of tragic because she never got to see her again and she -- it was just, just something that sticks in my mind, how she wanted to be with Dannie Lynn.
KING: So you had to be bowled over at her death?
RALE: I was shocked. I, frankly, didn't believe it, at first, because I get all kinds of calls all the time. And even -- I can't even begin to describe some of the calls. And so I didn't believe it until I got the -- I saw on my cell phone, the cell phone from Howard coming on there and then Howard in the background, I knew it was true. And somebody else gave the message with Howard choked up in the background.
Then after that I did talk to the fire department and the hospital and, of course, everybody confirmed what happened.
KING: Who do you represent now?
RALE: You know, that's an interesting question. But I represent Anna Nicole. I mean right now she's not really a party to the case and so I appeared in court today on her behalf.
But moving forward, that's a good question, Larry. And it -- there is -- it's going to -- it's an estate type question but... KING: Are you in limbo in a sense?
RALE: A little bit in limbo. And also a little bit tired. We're -- we haven't had -- there's so many things going on, so many issues with all of these cases.
KING: Thanks, Ron.
RALE: Thanks a lot, Larry.
KING: I look forward to seeing you again.
Ron Rale, the attorney for the late Anna Nicole Smith.
Coming up, the real live Hollywood prince who says he may be the father of Anna Nicole's baby daughter. He also happens to be married to another famous star.
We'll talk with him just ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "LARRY KING LIVE," JANUARY 26, 2007)
LARRY BIRKHEAD: We dated for over two-and-a-half years. And during that time, it was an uphill battle with Mr. Stern. And he's always -- was always interfering with our everyday life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "LARRY KING LIVE," SEPTEMBER 26, 2006)
KING: Did he and Anna have a strong romantic relationship at one time?
HOWARD K. STERN: She never considered him her boyfriend.
KING: To your knowledge, were they ever intimate?
STERN: You know, that's something I -- I don't even want to get into.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Joining us now from his home in Bel Air is Prince Frederick von Anhalt.
He is the husband of Hollywood star Zsa Zsa Gabor, another old friend of mine. And he claims that he may be the father of Anna Nicole's baby.
How -- how long were you and Anna Nicole involved, Prince Frederic?
PRINCE FREDERIC VON ANHALT, ZSA-ZSA GABOR'S HUSBAND: Well, we knew each other -- we knew each other for the last 10 years. We talk very often. We met when she was in Los Angeles. I met her once in San Francisco. And right in the beginning I met her in New York, when she still was married to -- to Howard. And Howard was a very, very nice man. He was a very happy man. You could see it. She made him smile. She made him laugh. He was very happy. He wanted somebody very young around him. He wanted a child around him because Nicole was a little bit childish and he loved that.
We all -- all men love that, if their wife is a little childish.
KING: Did you have a romantic relation w her for those 10 years?
ANHALT: We didn't get closer while she was married to Howard, that's for sure. She would never have done that to Howard.
But after Howard died -- the whole thing is she wanted to become a princess, you know?
She wanted a title. She met me. And Howard talked about he is a European prince, oh, prince. She loved to meet a prince. So she wanted a title.
KING: All right...
ANHALT: So as I said look, it's my -- there's only -- there's only two ways to get a title. Either you are married to a prince, you marry a prince, or you get adopted. That's when you get a title.
So she said get a divorce from your wife and marry me. That was after Howard died. She would have never said that before. That's what...
KING: Did -- what does Zsa Zsa...
ANHALT: That was the first...
KING: But what does Zsa Zsa...
ANHALT: That was the first we...
KING: ... of all this, prince?
ANHALT: Well, Zsa Zsa is, of course -- you know, Zsa Zsa. You know, she hates that, of course, you know, because there is another blond. He was after another blond. I love blond women. I adore blond women, you know?
What can I do?
This is nature.
I can't kill myself for that, you know?
I mean this is -- you know, somebody's pushing me. You know, I can't do anything about it. You know, I am a man. You know, so anyhow -- and...
KING: By the way, how is Zsa Zsa?
ANHALT: She is OK, you know?
I mean she is in a wheelchair. She had an accident, you know, about...
KING: Yes, I know.
ANHALT: She recovered very well. You know, mentally she is perfect, you know? And the only thing is I...
ANHALT: ... I have to help her to get out of bed. Because she had the accident, you know?
KING: All right, Prince Frederic...
KING: Why do you think you may be the father of this little girl?
ANHALT: Well, listen, it's not only me who could be. There are also another 30 men who could be, because Nicole wasn't sitting at home knitting socks, that's for sure, you know?
She enjoyed life. She wanted to have fun. And she wanted to have fun with men. She loved it.
So there could be another 30 out of it. But the only reason why I came out now with it is because, first of all, Nicole died, which was a big shock. We would have never -- if Nicole would be alive today, we wouldn't talk today. If Nicole would be alive in three years, we wouldn't have talked about that in three years, you know?
But she died. Now, there are two guys who claim one is the father and the other one is the father. And I think both of them are full of shit because they are not the father at all.
KING: OK. So if they're not the father and you may be the father, let's take a hypothetic. Supposing you submit your DNA, they take the baby's DNA and you are the father.
Will you raise this child?
ANHALT: That's a -- that -- well, that is a different story. If the -- if a court would -- if it would proven by court on the end that I was involved and the child is mine, I would definitely raise the child. That's for sure.
KING: All right.
Were you in love with Anna Nicole?
ANHALT: No. I was in love with my wife. I was in love with my wife 20 years ago and I'm still in love with my wife. When you have an affair with somebody, it doesn't mean you are in love. You know, love -- you know what love is. Love is a complete different story. Lots of people don't know what love is. They go to bed with somebody and say "I love you."
Bullshit. Love is a different story. I love my wife.
KING: All right, you've said that if either Larry Birkhead or Howard Stern is awarded custody of the baby you won't file if Dannie Lynn ends up with, say, Anna Nicole's sister or brother...
KING: ... but you might file a lawsuit?
ANHALT: If they -- no, no. Then I would -- then I would come out and tell a story and give the authorities another way to investigate and prove that both of the guys are wrong.
KING: You would know...
ANHALT: You see something...
KING: You would know they're wrong?
ANHALT: Yes. Because, you know, I was talking to -- I was talking to Nicole and we talked about other things. We talked about Howard. We talked about Larry. I didn't want to get in so much about it, but she told me a couple of stories, especially a couple of stories about Howard he wouldn't like at all if I come in the open with it.
ANHALT: She used him -- she used him. She needed a father for the child. And because the real father made a deal with her not to go on the open with it, he did not want the world to know that he is the father. So she made a deal with Howard.
KING: Wait a minute...
ANHALT: She needed somebody. She needed security for the girl...
KING: Do you know...
ANHALT: ... so Howard took over.
KING: Hold it.
Do you know who that real father was?
KING: What did you say?
ANHALT: I know who the real father is.
KING: So it's not you?
ANHALT: You mean the real father -- is. I don't say yes and I didn't say no. Let's see how the court is ruling. If the court rules the right direction, not left to Larry, not right to Howard, in the right direction, I'll stay out of it. If the court rules either to Howard or to Larry, I jump in, because...
KING: Thank you, prince.
ANHALT: ... then the court is doing wrong.
KING: Prince Frederick von Anhalt from his home in Bel Air, California.
The story gets curiouser and curiouser.
Still ahead, the attorney for, as the prince just said, one of those other guys who claims to be Dannie Lynn's dad, Larry Birkhead.
Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "LARRY KING LIVE," FEBRUARY 3, 2004)
KING: Are you dating?
ANNA NICOLE SMITH: Not yet.
KING: Why not?
NICOLE SMITH: Because I -- I can't trust anybody. I just -- I can't. I -- I get sued all the time. I -- I can't trust anybody. I -- I mean people I don't even know sue me all the time. I -- I just -- it's -- I'm just -- I don't trust anybody. It's hard.
KING: You're wary?
NICOLE SMITH: It's very hard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "LARRY KING LIVE," MAY 2002)
KING: You worked in a fried chicken restaurant, right?
I mean you had a lot of...
NICOLE SMITH: Yes.
KING: ... kind of lower end jobs.
NICOLE SMITH: Right.
KING: Nothing menial about that, but it was -- it must have been tough.
NICOLE SMITH: Well, at Krispy Fried Chicken, I worked there for four years. That was fun. That was (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
KING: What did you do?
NICOLE SMITH: I was a breakfast cook.
STERN: That's how she met her first husband.
NICOLE SMITH: Yes. Which helped my first husband, yes, it was there.
KING: He came in for breakfast?
NICOLE SMITH: No, he worked there.
NICOLE SMITH: He worked there. At first I was a waitress. I -- and then I became later a breakfast cook. And he worked in the back. So it was fun at first.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
KING: We welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE, Debra Opri, the attorney for Larry Birkhead.
Birkhead claims he's the father of Anna Nicole Smith's five- month-old baby. He was on this show a couple of weeks ago.
OK, the attorney for Anna Nicole Smith, Ron Rale, says that he's -- he's willing to go through with the DNA, he just wants it all legal.
DEBRA OPRI, LARRY BIRKHEAD'S ATTORNEY: It's idiocy. It's a sidestep. It's a game. You know, Larry, if they wanted to do the test, they would have done it back in October.
Every single time our judge says, OK, when are you going to do the test, where are you going to do the test, it's well, we're going to do it here but -- and we can do this however.
I have heard point blank that Howard K. Stern said, through his attorney, you're never getting the baby, we're never doing the test.
Anna Nicole -- and we sympathize with the loss. She was very young. It's a very tragic ending. But she told Larry Birkhead I'm never doing the test.
So the lawyers come here on your show and the lawyers go out in the media and they say we want to do the test, but it has to be legal.
Now, I'm a big picture person, Larry. And the big picture is do the test.
KING: What are they afraid of?
OPRI: They're afraid of Larry Birkhead being the biological father and taking custody. Mark my words, Larry Birkhead will continue this fight. Larry Birkhead will not rest until that child is away from Howard K. Stern.
KING: You said last night that you'd get an order today to DNA.
What happened (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?
OPRI: We went in on an emergency order. We wanted the body preserved. We went in for the hearing, we asked for DNA. The judge said well, we had confirmation, the autopsy did take place today, DNA samples were taken so that urgency is passed. We'll preserve the body for the preservation of evidence. We'll do it for 10 days so we can have a full hearing.
KING: You need the DNA of the mother, why?
OPRI: We need -- we need to make sure...
OPRI: ... there's not a bait and switch. We had a...
KING: Oh, I see, because the baby...
OPRI: We had a concern because Howard K. Stern has a niece who's very similar to Dannie Lynn. And we don't want the possibility that there is another baby being tested. We need -- we need the mother. We need the daughter. And we need Larry Birkhead.
KING: What do you make of what the prince just said, there were 30 lovers?
OPRI: I'm not going to waste a second of my limited time with you addressing what that gentleman said. It's stupid.
KING: But you don't know if she did or didn't have?
OPRI: Larry Birkhead...
KING: Larry doesn't know...
OPRI: ... my client, indicates with full, full authority, that he had an exclusive relationship with Anna Nicole. And he was here with you.
KING: Are you impressed that Howard K. Stern could say listen, take the baby, raise -- here's a guy willing to raise a baby, it may not even be his.
He's willing to raise it? Doesn't that impress you at all...
KING: ... when he could say...
KING: ... go?
OPRI: No, it doesn't impress me because as far as I'm concerned -- and I just say it like it is. That's who I am. That baby, to Howard K. Stern, represents a pot of gold. To me, Anna Nicole Smith, to Howard K. Stern, represented a pot of gold, whatever obsession, whatever fascination he may have had for her, it was bad. It was poison.
She's dead. Daniel is dead. We do not want Larry Birkhead's child to fall prey to the same problems and issues.
KING: What is your client's state of mind?
OPRI: He's devastated. He is inconsolable. He has not left his home for two days and every time I talk to him he bursts into tears. He loved Anna. He lost the mother of his little baby girl and he lost the love of his life. And he truly believed that eventually the three of them would get back together.
KING: Why did they break up?
OPRI: I don't think they broke up by anything between Anna and Larry. It had to do with Howard K. Stern and Larry Birkhead.
KING: They had a conflict?
OPRI: The conflict from day one. Howard K. Stern didn't want anyone close to Anna Nicole.
KING: I know you're his attorney, but why, Debra, are you so convinced he's the father?
OPRI: I've been...
KING: Because you could be embarrassed, too.
OPRI: I -- listen, I take that chance every day. But I believe with all my heart that Larry Birkhead is the father of this child. And I accepted this representation, I have put a lot of financial expenses out and I will run the course with him. I will not abandon Larry.
KING: What's your next judicial move? They've got the DNA from Anna Nicole now? They have that?
OPRI: It's been taken by the coroner's office. We now need to go back to court on the 20th, show that the court still maintains jurisdiction to -- to further and conclude its order in the state of Florida, take the sample, have it tested and then finalize the testing with Dannie Lynn and Larry.
KING: And who supervises that? I mean where is that done?
OPRI: Judge Snyder, Department 2. I have everything faith...
KING: You mean they bring the baby to the judge?
OPRI: No. I have every faith that Judge Snyder will enforce his order and that this will get done. All this hypocrisy of Ron Rale stating to you, oh, we -- we're threatening with -- threatened with deportation if she brought Bahamian law. They went to the Bahamas for a reason. And those reasons are quickly dissipating. Anna's dead. Daniel's dead.
I don't know how long Howard K. Stern will be there. He's facing an inquest. There are questions concerning Anna's death and what happened, what caused her death.
All of these things are a cloud surrounding Howard K. Stern and Larry is going to sit patiently and pursue this course of litigation.
KING: Do you have any questions about her death, other than accidental?
OPRI: I think she was a tragic figure. I think -- and you've met her many times...
KING: Many times.
OPRI: ... I think she was a woman who was looking for love. And I believe she was surrounded by the wrong people. That's really what I think.
KING: You think this is ever going to be resolved?
OPRI: It has to be. It has to be.
KING: How quickly?
OPRI: I don't know. I really don't know, Larry. We -- we at this point soon. We are pursuing an outcome.
Will it be quick?
I don't know. I don't know.
KING: We'll see you again, Debra.
KING: Probably in a couple of days.
OPRI: All right, thanks, Larry. KING: Debra Opri, the attorney for Larry Birkhead.
Ahead in our next segment, the latest from our reporters in South Florida. And one-on-one with the man who had millions of people hanging on his every word today, the doctor in charge of Anna Nicole's autopsy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNA NICOLE SMITH, ENTERTAINER/MODEL: I always wanted to really bad. I wanted to model and be an actress. But it was always the same thing: Get down to 125 pounds. Darken your hair. You know, cut it. And, you know, they always say that. And, plus, they wanted tons of money, which I didn't have.
So, really, the first modeling job I had was the "Playboy" cover in March of '92.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: In a couple of minutes, we will meet the chief medical examiner for Broward County, Florida, who conducted the autopsy today.
Joining us in Fort Lauderdale is Susan Candiotti, CNN correspondent. And in the Bahamas is CNN correspondent Rusty Dornin.
The attorney for -- Susan, the attorney for Anna Nicole Smith just told us that Howard K. Stern is in Florida. Have you seen him?
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, we have not seen him, have not seen him since yesterday, kept asking, was he in the ambulance with her? We know he was not in the hotel room, according to a law enforcement source, when her body was found.
In fact, we know from the nurse that she tried to reach him after Anna Nicole Smith collapsed, couldn't reach him, had to leave a message for him. Finally, he called back. And that's when she wound up setting the chain of events in motion to call the front office, who, in turn, eventually called 911.
But we have not seen Mr. Stern.
KING: Rusty Dornin, we are told tonight by a guest that the baby is in the Bahamas. Do you know where she is?
RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The baby is -- well, that's a little unclear right now, Larry.
We understand from Ron Rale, he said that Howard Stern's sister and mother were either coming to the Bahamas or already had the baby in their custody. Apparently, Dannielynn was left with a very high- ranking Bahamian official when Stern and Smith left earlier this week. So, it's unclear whether the baby is still there, whether Stern's sister and mother have taken responsibility for the baby. Also, we understand Anna Nicole Smith's mother has been inquiring with the police here. She wants to look after the welfare of the baby.
But it is unclear what will happen, because, if there is a battle over who takes control of the child, it will go directly to social services here in Bahama. And the custody battle could take a while -- I mean, the courts here, very conservative. They are modeled on the British parliamentary model. And this could take a while to determine who actually will take responsibility for Dannielynn -- Larry.
KING: Susan -- Susan Candiotti, I understand you were in the -- the morgue today. What was that like?
CANDIOTTI: Well, I -- I must say that I have been in morgues before, and this was much like any other one that I had seen.
Certainly, it's very clean. All of the instruments are laid out. We saw the refrigerator-type rooms where the remains of Anna Nicole Smith were, but except he said that they were not there. They had taken extraordinary security measures in this particular case, because there were concerns, quite frankly, according to the medical examiner, Dr. Perper, that someone might possibly try to interfere, or -- you never know -- he said, try to steal some of her remains, as gruesome, frankly, as that may sound.
And, so, there's extra security provided by the sheriff's office here. And she's in a room somewhere off the back that he did not show us.
But we got to see the kinds of things that they do...
CANDIOTTI: ... take photographs, microscopes, that kind of thing.
KING: Susan and Rusty will be back with us in our next segment and for the rest of the program, along with other panel members.
But, just a little while ago, I talked with the Broward County chief medical examiner, Dr. Joshua Perper. He did the autopsy on Anna Nicole. I asked him why the body is being preserved until February 20.
DR. JOSHUA PERPER, BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA, CHIEF MEDICAL EXAMINER: We competed our examination. We completed our autopsy.
And, at this time, the -- the medical examiner's office is prepared to release the body to the proper custodian of records. We received information that perhaps we will get a court request to delay the release of the body, and we didn't receive it. Obviously, we are going to honor any legitimate court request. KING: Yes.
What, if anything, was significant about this autopsy?
PERPER: Well, I think that the most significant thing about this autopsy was that it was an unexpected, sudden, and unexplained death in a young individual, in a young woman, who was 39 years old, and had, ultimately, some kind of minor stomach flu.
So, under those circumstances, and under the Florida law, such cases are under the -- such cases are under the jurisdiction of the medical examiner. And that's what they did in this case.
KING: Was there anything in the stomach that might lead you to cause of death?
PERPER: Well, what the autopsy was very significant is that we were able to exclude physical trauma, such as gunshot wound or stab wounds or blunt-force trauma. We were able to exclude choking on her own vomit (INAUDIBLE)
And the findings were basically very minor findings in the heart and in some of the intestines, which would have to be verified microscopically. In the stomach, we found only a very small amount of blood, which -- we believe that the bleeding occurred very shortly before she died, and, therefore, is not really significant. It just reflects terminal shock.
KING: Any evidence that she was suffering from any kind of illness?
PERPER: Well, she had a somewhat enlarged liver, but there was no evidence, grossly, of any significant natural disease.
Her heart was quite healthy, except for some, as I said, minor findings, which will have to be examined microscopically. However, we well know that, sometimes, the naked-eye examination may be misleading, and further testing -- and we did a lot of very extensive testing, and we will do more, including microscopic examination -- might reveal evidence of natural disease.
So, basically, there are three -- three possibilities, or three options of diagnosis in this case. Either the death was due solely to natural causes -- and, in fact, she was sick for three days, so this is a reasonable assumption -- or it was due to some kind of medication or drugs, or to a combination of natural disease or medication.
And, in this time, we really cannot make up this determination, because we lack the results of the test. Eventually, we will be able to choose the proper one.
KING: And, finally, have you ruled out foul play?
PERPER: Well, as I said, we were able to rule out foul play as a result of physical violence.
KING: Right, but -- but by poisoning?
PERPER: We did not yet -- we did not -- yes -- we did not rule out yet foul play in terms of chemical violence...
PERPER: ... because we don't have the tests, and we lack the proper review of the record and the investigation, which might reveal something in this regard.
KING: That was Dr. Perper, the chief medical examiner.
There's more to come, including a personal look at the artistic side of Anna Nicole, and how she expressed it. And it involves me.
And we will hear from two of the top entertainment reporters who have been tracking the ongoing story of the blonde bombshell's death.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LARRY KING LIVE," MAY 29, 2002)
KING: ... that you were in rehab.
SMITH: Right. True. But they say I was in there for drugs. I was in there for painkillers.
KING: You took what? You got addicted to prescription painkillers?
SMITH: I got addicted to pain pills and also alcohol, when my husband was dying and when he died.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Welcome back.
Our full panel is assembled for the rest of the program.
Here in Los Angeles, Katrina Szish. She is contributing editor of "Us Weekly." In Fort Lauderdale is Tony Potts, "Access Hollywood" reporter and anchor. In Pittsburgh, our old friend, Dr. Cyril Wecht, who performed the autopsy on Anna Nicole's son, Daniel, when he died five months ago, and returning, in Fort Lauderdale, Susan Candiotti of CNN, and, in the Bahamas, Rusty Dornin of CNN.
Katrina, based on what you have heard earlier tonight on this show, a lawyer who says, well, hold up on the DNA, another lawyer who says do the DNA, and a prince who says...
KING: ... no matter what you discover, it ain't those two, what's -- what do you make of this? KATRINA SZISH, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, "US WEEKLY": I can't believe there's now a third person who says -- who says: Well, I might be the father, too, as well as perhaps 30 other people.
That -- that's suspect. I just -- I think it's -- I think, if nothing else, it's very sad that Anna Nicole's untimely death is even just being overshadowed by all of these people feuding and making these claims. I mean, I would love it if someone would take -- I don't know -- maybe 24 hours to actually really mourn her passing.
KING: Are we close to becoming a circus?
SZISH: We are in full-fledged circus, yes.
KING: Tony Potts of "Access Hollywood," do you agree with that?
TONY POTTS, "ACCESS HOLLYWOOD": Absolutely. It is a circus.
And, now, with the advent of the prince coming in -- and he's not really a prince, by the way, Larry. He bought that title. And he also sells prince titles in Hollywood as well. He's now the clown of this three-ring circus. I think he will have no bearing on any of this down the road.
My question is, really, why not just do the DNA, like everybody says? And I -- I was thinking today, Larry, when, you know, I'm looking behind me, and I -- we talk about all the media crowd. But, when you look back in this room back here, there's a woman back there who has been sliced open today. And people were taking parts of her out of her, looking to see what has happened.
And that's the significance of this. I wondered to myself today, maybe if everybody had just gone for the DNA tests way back in October, would we be here tonight? Would all of this have happened? We really don't know what the motivation was...
POTTS: ... what happened to Anna Nicole in those final hours, Larry.
KING: Well said.
Dr. Cyril Wecht, have we closed the book on Daniel's death?
DR. CYRIL WECHT, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Well, yes, insofar as the cause of death. It's not closed insofar as the manner of death is concerned.
The inquest, which was scheduled to begin next month, Larry, in Nassau, may be postponed. I do not know. I assume that the lawyers for Stern may argue that they need now more time and so on.
But the Bahamian authorities will be pursuing the question of manner of death. Insofar as the cause of death is concerned, it's clear. You have got methadone, Lexapro and Zoloft -- some question of a cardiac dysrhythmia associated with those drugs. And that raises an interesting point, from a medical, pathological standpoint, with regard to Anna Nicole, whether the same thing may prove to play out here.
I think that we have to wait for the toxicological analyses, obviously, and the microscopic study of tissues. Various things of a natural disease process nature have been ruled out that are capable of producing sudden death, pulmonary embolism, a myocardial infarction, a cerebral hemorrhage, an aspiration of gastric contents, and producing asphyxiation...
WECHT: ... and so on.
KING: We will have more, and pick up with Susan Candiotti and -- and Rusty Dornin, when we come back, right after these words.
KING: Susan Candiotti, do you share of the view of Katrina Szish and Tony Potts that this has become a circus?
CANDIOTTI: Well, sadly, when you have a celebrity like Anna Nicole Smith -- and -- and, really, to a lot of people, it's hard to understand what it is that draws people to her.
I can only come up with, perhaps people identify with some of the tragedies in her life. It is a remarkable scene here, with all of the news media. On the other hand, I'm not seeing the entourage of -- of everyday people, as it were, that are coming out here to watch for themselves. Only a handful of that, have we seen here. So, to that degree, it's not so much a circus as I have seen in some -- some other cases.
KING: Rusty Dornin, in the Bahamas, concerning Dannielynn, who is in the Bahamas, are there other legal problems pertaining to the Bahamas?
DORNIN: There certainly were for Anna Nicole Smith. She was even involved in a legal hassle over the house where she was staying.
Apparently, a man that had reportedly been intimate with her at one time, Ben Thompson, she claimed he gave her the house. He was claiming he did not give her the house at all. And, apparently, over the last few days, they have been securing it. And that legal hassle is over.
But, again, as Dr. Wecht mentioned, the inquest is coming up March 27 into Daniel Smith's death. Now, that -- that is scheduled here in the Bahamas. And Anna Nicole Smith was supposed to be a witness at that inquest. So, it's unclear whether that is going to be postponed or not -- Larry.
KING: Katrina, is this a difficult thing for a weekly to cover, when it changes so much? SZISH: It sure is.
I mean, it's funny. Weeklies seem like they can cover everything, after just looking at monthly magazines. But now, with something where the details change every minute, it seems like the only way to really keep up with this is -- is with -- is with a Web site, or online.
I mean, for -- for a weekly, once you print something, you have to wait a whole week to print something else. So, it is difficult to cover, because everything changes constantly, especially in a case like this.
KING: Tony, from -- from a standpoint of a nightly television show, do you wish you had more time?
POTTS: Yes, more than 22-and-a-half minutes.
You know, when we broke the story on AccessHollywood.com of her being rushed to the hospital, you know, we had to do that on our Web site, because we were not going to tape until 1:00 in the afternoon, Pacific Time. And, of course, by that time, she had already passed.
But, when we found out, we had to go right to the Web site. And that's what we are doing a lot these days, because we just don't have enough time, and things break so fast.
But we actually, Larry, have to update our show three or four times a day, because it does constantly change. I mean, I will be in the Bahamas all this weekend, and with a huge team coming down to the Bahamas. And we will be taking all of that stuff -- because we don't have a show until Monday, a fresh, new show until Monday, we will put all that on the Web site all weekend long.
So, it's ever-changing. And thank goodness for the Web site. I can tell you that much.
KING: Dr. Wecht, since no drugs were found in Anna Nicole Smith's stomach, does that mean she definitely did not die of an overdose?
WECHT: Not at all, Larry.
In the majority of cases which I do in which drug overdose proves to be the cause of death, I do not find any residua of pills and capsules in the stomach. Keep in mind that these drugs dissolve rather quickly. And the effects which lead to death do not occur until absorption has taken place, because they have to get into the bloodstream to make their way, then, to the brain.
So, you have got a passage of some time. While we talk about Anna Nicole's death being sudden, it's sudden and unexpected in the sense that she was alive and seemingly well, et cetera. We don't know -- at least I do not at this time -- how long she had been lying there, ostensibly sleeping, and then moving into a deeper stage of unconsciousness, coma, stupor, and death. So, the absence of pills and capsules in the stomach in no way excludes the...
WECHT: ... possibility of this being a drug-overdose death.
KING: Susan Candiotti, do you want to add to that?
CANDIOTTI: Yes, I think, beyond the science here, what we are seeing in Dr. Perper is that he takes -- he gets personally involved.
He will be doing some of the interviews that -- that yet lie ahead. For example, he will be talking to the nurse. He will be talking to the bodyguard. He said: There are certain questions that I would ask that the police might not ask.
And, so, look for him to be very much involved in the rest of this investigation, while he waits for those toxicology result -- results to come back.
KING: And we will be back with the remaining moments with this outstanding panel on this edition of "LARRY KING LIVE."
And, don't forget, stay tuned. Going to show you a special piece of artistry before we turn it over to Anderson Cooper.
Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LARRY KING LIVE," FEBRUARY 9, 2004)
SMITH: I really got tired of the -- the fat jokes, you know. The mean people really hurt my feelings and were really, really hurtfully rude.
No one believed it. No one believed I lost the weight. Everybody's like, no. You know, all the media's calling: She didn't lose the weight.
You know, they saw it, and now they can eat their words.
I just wanted to come out with a bang.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LARRY KING LIVE," MAY 29, 2002)
KING: What else do you plan to do?
SMITH: Give you a present. I got you a present. KING: You got me a present?
Signed it with the little happy face.
SMITH: That's my signature.
KING: Well, thank you so much. I will treasure that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: And here it is, the painting Anna Nicole Smith did of me. She was a part-time amateur painter. She had a lot of fun with it, pretty good with colors -- Anna Nicole Smith's painting of me, done about three years ago.
Cyril Wecht has to leave us.
Why -- why does it take so long to get final results, Cyril?
WECHT: Toxicological studies do take some time.
But, in addition to that, medical examiners and coroners routinely know when they are being nudged and bugged to death by news media, they're going to allow themselves -- Dr. Perper said three to five weeks. And I don't criticize him at all. Better to say that. But he will have the results back before three to five weeks.
WECHT: He will have the microscopic slides on his desk on Monday.
And I think, by the middle of next week, he will have a darn good idea of what's going on, if not the final answer. When he releases, it will be his decision.
KING: Thank you. Thank you, Dr. Cyril Wecht of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who performed the autopsy on Anna Nicole's son, Daniel, when he died five months ago.
Rusty Dornin, is there a great deal of interest in this in the Bahamas?
DORNIN: Well, you know, this is an island, Larry, that does not really like the spotlight.
And, ever since Anna Nicole Smith came, she was surrounded by death and scandal. And it was not something that people were very excited about. And the people we spoke to today said they did not really understand why the world is so still fascinated with this whole story.
KING: Katrina Szish, do -- do -- have we ever -- find out now why the nurse was there?
SZISH: We still don't know exactly why the nurse was there.
There are some reports that the nurse was Anna Nicole's bodyguard's girlfriend. Other people have said that the nurse was brought in specifically to care for Anna, because she did have that very high fever. So -- but the exact reason has not -- has not been clarified.
KING: It will take a -- well, do you think it will take a while?
SZISH: If ever, yes.
KING: Tony Potts, what intrigues you the most about this?
POTTS: I think, you know, she was kind of our -- our Marilyn Monroe, at least for a while. And that's why I think everybody is kind of enamored with this case all the way around the world.
One thing about her, Larry, is that, you know, sometimes, she was hard to watch. And, other times, she was hard not to watch. And I think that right there is kind of the rub between tragedy and what ended up with -- with her life and where she is today, unfortunately, behind us...
KING: Susan, we keep -- we keep hearing about the press interest. Describe it for me. How many are there?
CANDIOTTI: Oh, I would say at least a good two dozen.
I mean, really, this parking lot was filled with trucks and with people and photographers and print journalists as well, so, a goodly number of people here, an equal number over at the hotel and casino, a lot of people in South Florida this weekend, trying to get find Howard Stern, for example. Where is he? Has he left? Has he gone back to the Bahamas to find the baby? A lot of -- a lot of unanswered questions.
KING: How long does this play, Katrina? How much legs does this story have?
SZISH: I think this -- this has legs for years, because once we establish who the father is, I think we are going to be wondering, then, what happens to Dannielynn as she grows up? How does she grow up? What is her life like?
So, this is something that we're going to be watching way into a new child's, you know, lifetime, really.
KING: How long are you going to be there, Tony?
POTTS: I'm leaving -- actually leaving tomorrow, going to the Bahamas. And I will be there indefinitely, for a while.
I can tell you, Larry, we did count today with my producer, Buddy Singer (ph). There were 39 cameras here. And there were 13 different satellite -- satellite and microwave trucks...
POTTS: ... beaming this all over the world today.
KING: Thanks to you all for an intriguing hour on a story that will not go away.
We welcome him to the West Coast. He's the host of "A.C. 360." He's Anderson Cooper. And he's next from right over there.
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": Hey, Larry. Thanks very much.
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