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Accidental Overdose Killed Anna Nicole

Aired March 26, 2007 - 21:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This case is an accidental overdose.

DR. JOSHUA PERPER, BROWARD COUNTY MEDICAL EXAMINER: The cause of death is combined drug in her system.


KING: ... six weeks after the tragedy that's obsessed America, we learn what killed Anna Nicole Smith -- a deadly combo of prescription drugs, all of them legal.

But why so many at the same time?

Today, the medical examiner said he saw no evidence of homicide, but still could not rule out the possibility of criminal capability and he's here to tell us what that means.

Plus, exclusive -- Howard K. Stern's attorney.

Did Howard know how many drugs Anna was taking?

Could he somehow have prevented this?

Stern's close friend Ron Rale, attorney for Anna's estate, on Howard's reaction to the autopsy report.

All next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening.

We begin in West Palm Beach, Florida with Dr. Joseph Perper, a frequent guest on this program, the Broward County medical examiner, who performed the autopsy on Anna Nicole Smith.

You found the cause, Dr. Perper, to be -- of the death -- to be combined drug intoxication.

What does that mean?

PERPER: It means that the cause of death was a combination of chloral hydrate, which was the major component, plus four other drugs which were in therapeutic levels. And they were basically intended primarily for control of depression and anxiety. KING: When you call a death accidental, what leads to that conclusion? Like how do you know there wasn't any malfeasance involved?

PERPER: Well, you have to make a determination based on the facts and weigh the different possibilities of a natural death. In other words, to be able to say that the accidental manner of death is much more likely than the other manners of death with aren't natural, such as suicide and homicide.

And in this particular case, the personality of the deceased, her medical history, her clinical history, the diseases which she -- we know that she had -- our investigation, our autopsies, the investigation of the Seminole police and my review of the laptop computer led us to the very clear decision that accidental death is the proper manner of death to be determined in this case.

KING: Dr. Perper, the autopsy report was delayed because of new evidence based on laptop computers.

Did that pan out?

PERPER: That's correct. Yes, it panned out because we did not know whether the laptop computer material is going to lead us to the conclusion that she was threatened and feared death by the hands of another person, which would be a homicide, or whether she had a definite plan for suicide.

And, as I said, the information from the laptop computer pointed rather to accident because her initial grief is somewhat -- she didn't have any kind of more -- any kind of suicidal expression of grief and she was relatively happy, although there was a state, still, of chronic depression.

KING: What do you...

PERPER: But much milder.

KING: What do you make as a forensic physician and as a physician, of the amount of drugs she had in her system and the combinations itself?

PERPER: Well...

KING: Have you ever seen any like that prescribed?

PERPER: Yes, we have seen that and as a matter of fact this combination also points to accident because the therapeutic levels of the other prescribed drugs indicated that she did not really wanted to take her life because then we would have expected much higher levels from the other drugs -- of the anti-depression and anti-anxiety drugs.

And the only drug, basically, which was the major component was the chloral hydrate. By itself, it would could have caused the death, but perhaps not in a person who is used to the drug. But in combination with the other drugs, it definitely -- all of them together caused her unfortunate death.

KING: Any illegal drugs in the system?

PERPER: No, there were no illegal drugs at all. As a matter of fact, there was not even methadone in the blood, though it was in the bile -- that's a secretion of the liver -- indicating that some two or three days before her death, she used methadone.

KING: Well, based on the autopsy, was her death peaceful or suffering?

PERPER: I'm sorry?

KING: Was her death peaceful or suffering?

PERPER: Her death was a result, as I said, of the -- of the drugs which she...

KING: No, but I mean did she die peacefully, do you think? Or was she in some sort of pain?

PERPER: No, she was not in pain at all. She basically slept until her -- slept and sank into death. There was no pain at all.

KING: Could she have been saved if she were hospitalized sooner?

PERPER: Absolutely. And the reason is that she would have been hospitalized, she wouldn't have had the opportunity of taking the excess amount of chloral hydrate.

As a matter of fact, the antibiotic which we had given her for infection in the bottle (ph) were effective and basically cleaned the blood of the bacteria. But she still felt weak and unfortunately she had access to the chloral hydrate.

KING: Tamiflu was present, right?

Isn't Tamiflu an amazing drug?

PERPER: Well, it's reported to be quite effective in some cases and not so much in others.

KING: You have to get it early, though, when you have the flu?

PERPER: That's correct.

KING: Yes.

We have an e-mail question from Noni (ph) in Hammond, Indiana: "Why do you accept Howard K. Stern's account of events on the morning of Anna Nicole's death as bible oath? He says he didn't give her chloral hydrate or see her taking any medications. Why do you believe him?"

PERPER: You're asking me?

KING: Why do you believe the accounts of Howard K. Stern?

PERPER: Well, I believe -- I do not -- this is his statement. His statement is not contradicted by any other statement. The conglomerate of the facts indicated it was an accidental death. Even if she -- even assuming that he gave her the drug, it was obviously not against her wishes, because she liked the drug and she sometimes drank straight from the bottle.

KING: Another e-mail from Connie in Bedford, Virginia: "How can Anna Nicole's death be accidental when she had a doctor, a nurse, a bodyguard and a companion around her 24-7? Maybe negligence, but an accident?"

PERPER: Well, this doesn't make any sense because negligence can lead to an accident. I don't see how negligence excludes an accident. She had the ability to move and whether she took the chloral hydrate or somebody else, it was a non-intentional death. There is nothing to point to homicide. And, as I mentioned before, the police investigation reached the same conclusion.

KING: Is the case closed?

PERPER: The case is closed formally at this time. But any case can be opened if additional information which is credible and important surfaces.

KING: Thank you so much, as always.

Very cooperative.

Dr. Joshua Perper, the Broward County medical examiner.

PERPER: You're welcome.

KING: Thank you.

Coming up, Howard K. Stern's attorney. She's got a few choice words for all the conspiracy theorists out there, just like she did today at a news conference in Florida.

Stick around.


LILLY ANN SANCHEZ, ATTORNEY FOR HOWARD K. STERN: It's horrible. It's painful. It's tragic. But it is an accident. There was no suicide, no homicide and no criminal behavior of any kind. The case is closed.



KING: Welcome back.

Joining us now in Miami is Lilly Ann Sanchez, the attorney for Howard K. Stern.

In Los Angeles with us here is Ron Rale, attorney for the Anna Nicole Smith estate and close friend of Mr. Stern.

And in Pittsburgh, Dr. Cyril Wecht, forensic pathologist and attorney, former coroner of Allegheny County. At Anna Nicole Smith's request, he performed the second autopsy on her son, Daniel.

Let's start with Lilly Ann.

What does today's report mean for your client, Lilly Ann?

SANCHEZ: Larry, today my client finally gets to know what actually happened to Anna on February the 8th. He is, by far, the one person who has wanted to know the results of what happened to her on that day and has tried and cooperated completely with both the Seminole police enforcement and Dr. Perper to get to what actually happened on that day.

KING: With all those rumors, does this now clear him of what considered to be involvement?

SANCHEZ: Absolutely, Larry. I mean a lot of the rumors that were picked up by both the tabloid and the serious media were very irresponsible. They should not have been reported. The allegations were all made by individuals who had their own personal agenda or lawsuits against Mr. Stern.

I truly believe that today, once the true facts came out of what actually happened, that Anna should have some piece, and, moreover, Howard should have some peace and he should be able to concentrate on the larger issues, which is the baby girl.

KING: Ron Rale, were you surprised at anything in this report?

RON RALE, ATTORNEY FOR ANNA NICOLE SMITH ESTATE: Not at all. I mean I knew all along -- we all knew all along that it was nothing ever to do with Howard. And so it wasn't a surprise. I actually was driving to court. I didn't get to see the whole press conference, but I heard the results.

KING: What does this mean for you as representative of the estate? You don't represent Howard, you represent Anna Nicole...

RALE: I'm not actually -- I'm a successor executor of the estate, so I don't...

KING: Meaning?

RALE: I'm named second in her will, after Howard, to be the executor of her estate. We have actually probate counsel who would be the attorneys for the estate.

But, you know, I would just, you know, want to say that for Howard, this whole thing has been, you know, just an abomination, that he had to be subjected to this kind of witch-hunt in the press. And, you know, I'm just glad that it's over. I'm probably happier than Howard, because I would be shocked -- I would have been -- I would have lost faith in the judicial system if something like this would have ended up being a witch-hunt.

KING: Dr. Wecht, what do you make of Dr. Perper's performance in all of this?

DR. CYRIL WECHT, DID 2ND AUTOPSY ON ANNA NICOLE'S SON: He has done a good job, a thorough job and his observations, conclusions and opinions are right on.

Larry, you know, the drug business has been vastly overplayed here. You have four drugs involved -- chloral hydrate; and then you've got Clonapin, Valium and Ativan.

Let's look at the others. Cipro is an antibiotic which was used because she had a fever and an infection. Tamiflu because she had a flu. Atropine was given at the hospital. That wasn't even taken by her. Tylenol, acetaminophen, is something, as you know, we buy over- the-counter. Benadryl is something she would have taken for her cold, an antihistamine, although that can contribute a little bit to the central nervous system depressive effect.

So, the business about nine drugs -- and they put them up on the screen. You know, the drugs that they show -- nordiaezepam and tamazepam and oxazepam -- those are three metabolites of diazepam, Valium. So forget those three. They're just, you know, little, little children under daddy there.

So you've got Clonapin, you've got Valium, you've got Ativan at therapeutic to low therapeutic levels, not high. Not high at all. And then you do have...

KING: Then...

WECHT: ... a larger amount of chloral hydrate.

KING: Cyril?

WECHT: And keep in mind that she...

KING: Cyril?


KING: Then why did she die?

WECHT: Oh, no. She -- no, I'm not disputing the death here, the cause of death. Dr. Perper is right. She died from chloral hydrate. I'm just saying that the other three drugs at therapeutic, even low therapeutic levels...

KING: All right...

WECHT: ... kicked in with the chloral hydrate, led to her death. There's no doubt about that. I'm just saying, it is clearly an accidental drug death...

KING: I've got you.

WECHT: ... as Dr. Perper has said.

KING: Lilly...

WECHT: That's the point that I wanted to make.

KING: Lilly Ann, does Howard at all have any guilt that I should have done more, I should have been there, I should have, would have, could have?

SANCHEZ: Well, Larry, obviously Howard will always wish that he had not left when he did that morning to go get the boat that he was picking up and they were going to sail back to the Bahamas later that day. You always, in any kind of situation, are going to think about what you could have done, should have done, maybe might have done.

But Howard, on that morning, he -- he was up with Anna, he helped Anna to the bathroom. She came back into the bed. She was feeling much better than she was before. She was alert. They conversed. She decided to go back to sleep.

He checked on her before he left at about noon. He wasn't the only one that was with her. King Eric and his wife were with him. They decided not to wake her at that point. And he went on to do exactly what she had requested -- to go get the boat ready so that they could go back to the Bahamas.

KING: A true tragedy.

We'll be right back with more with these guests.

Don't go away.


KING: Ron Rale, how is Howard reacting to the autopsy?

RALE: He's not jumping up and down because, like I say, he knew all along, you know, like we all did, that there was no culpability or anything like that.

But Howard's just trying to get to a space where he can grieve. And I'll give you an example. Just like, you know, before Anna had passed away, with this inquest stuff pending, Howard was never concerned about himself. He was always worried about Anna. And as an example, when I was there in the Bahamas talking to Howard, with all of this -- the funeral preparations and all of the bad press out there and all of the witch-hunt type stuff I'm talking about, Howard's concern was for his parents -- always putting somebody else first.

But, you know, what are they thinking?

You know, I don't know if you've ever met his parents. They're very humble, good people. That's the kind of stock that Howard comes from.

And he's worried about them, like what do they think, even though he knew he had no (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

So he's a little relieved, but it doesn't bring Anna back. He still needs to grieve.

KING: Yes.

Dr. Wecht, what part will you be playing, if any, in the inquest into Daniel's death, because you did the second autopsy?

WECHT: Larry, I expect to be called as a witness and to discuss Daniel's death, the cause, the manner, the mechanism. And I'm sure they'll get into some questions having to do with the quantity of drugs, when they might have been taken and how they play out. And then the physiological processes, because that, Larry, then would have an impact on determining the manner of death, whether anybody knew what they were doing, either Daniel in taking the drugs, or anybody in giving the drugs to him.

KING: Lilly Ann, is Howard angry at the media?

SANCHEZ: Yes. He's very angry at the media. I think that he's extremely upset about how the media has treated him. I think he believes that it was -- a lot of it was very malicious. He doesn't think that anybody should have to go through what he has gone through in the past six weeks, and, for that matter, his family, listening to everything that they had to say.

It has completely turned into a baseless witch-hunt, and we are hoping that after today and the Seminole Police Department having closed out its investigation, which was never a criminal investigation whatsoever, and Dr. Perper having given the results of the autopsy reports as an accidental overdose, that we can finally give Mr. Stern some peace and let him grieve for Anna.

KING: Yes.

Ron, a simple question. An e-mail from Bob in Scarborough, Ontario: "If paternity tests prove that Dannielynn is Larry Birkhead's biological daughter, will Howard willingly hand her over to Larry?"

A simple yes or no.

RALE: You know, I think that's a loaded question because, you know, first of all --

KING: Why?

RALE: Well, you know, this is a Bahamian proceeding, I think, at this point. If it were in L.A. biology is not the end of the story for paternity. You have cases where the person who is adjudicated to be the father for paternity is not the biological father.


KING: So your answer is no?

RALE: Well, I mean, I can't answer that question. Howard would always do the right thing and we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

KING: And how close are we...

RALE: And he'll do what's best for Dannielynn.

KING: How close are we to getting there?

RALE: I can't tell you right now. In my opinion, it's under a gag order because this is a Bahamian proceeding at this point and I don't want to be the first guy to talk about it and ...

KING: All right.

RALE: While other people may have violated the gag order, but I'm not going to.

KING: Dr. Cyril Wecht, all in all, by authorities, has this been handled well?

WECHT: Yes. It was a complete autopsy and Dr. Perper checked with everybody. The Seminole Police Department did a thorough job. Outside consultants were called in. Don't forget that, too. And they have made their statements clear, and, I think, quite unequivocal. So I really, you know, have no criticisms.

And, in fact, I think it's important for people to listen to what the authorities are saying, and, indeed, what they have been saying, Larry, going back several weeks. I talked about this, it was going to be a combined death, it was going to be accidental.

I mean there's no surprises here. And some people tenaciously, for their own psychological reasons, want to keep trying to tie this in in some sinister and diabolic fashion and make it a kind of a serial killing orchestrated, presumably by Howard Stern from Daniel to Nicole, Anna, and if we don't get that baby out of there, the baby is next and so on.

It defies the facts. It flies in the face of logic. And it is anathema to good, hard forensic science.

KING: Lilly Ann, is there any -- when people say that they criticize Stern and others for not getting her at a hospital sooner when she had such a high temperature, how does Howard answer that?

SANCHEZ: Well, you have to understand that Anna did not want to go to the hospital and never wanted to go to the hospital because of the fact that the media frenzy that created around her when she went into the hospital was really intolerable for her.

You couple that with the fact that six months before, when she was at the hospital, at -- in a hospital room, she lost her son Daniel, which she never was able to get over and was inconsolable.

And, moreover, with the fact that you had Dr. Christine Arosovitch (ph) there, present, a physician, taking care of the situation and being able to control the temperature. She was able to get the temperature down to 97 degrees, as Dr. Perper stated. They put her in an ice bath. They provided the Cipro and they provided the Tamiflu. And she was getting better by Tuesday morning.

So in that kind of scenario...

KING: Yes...

SANCHEZ: ... the refusal by Anna to go to the hospital and the fact that she was getting better by Tuesday was the appropriate choice.

KING: Ron, is this ever going to end?

RALE: Which thing? I mean...

KING: The whole thing.

RALE: I mean I'm -- I'm hopeful. Now we're at a different phase, I think. But, you know, I'm just hopeful that it does. I mean there's so many different fronts that we're dealing with, it would be great if this thing weren't in the news anymore and that Dannielynn can grow up like a normal -- like a normal child.

KING: When do they think the DNA results are going to come forward?

RALE: You know, I couldn't tell you. And if I knew, I wouldn't, because there's a gag order. So if there even is...

KING: There's a gag order...

RALE: ... if there even...

KING: ... on saying when they'll be announced?

RALE: If there even is DNA testing.


RALE: But I just -- I just can't talk about it.

KING: Why is there a gag order?

RALE: That's Bahamian law. They're not allowed to talk about anything. It's -- you see, like in L.A....

KING: That's a reflection of the English law, right?

RALE: Yes, I believe it is. And you see the difference. In Florida, we had cameras in the courtroom on a paternity proceeding. In L.A. it's closed, but you can talk about certain things. In the Bahamas, a total gag order. So you're seeing a little sampling from different jurisdictions. And we've got to comply with whatever the appropriate court is in control.

KING: Thank you all very much.

Just ahead, lawyers for the other man in Anna Nicole's life, Larry Birkhead. I'll find out what today's revelations mean for their client's case, when we come back.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are convinced, based on an extensive review of the evidence, that this case is an accidental overdose with no other criminal element present. And we found nothing to indicate any foul play.


KING: Welcome back.

Joining us now in Dania Beach, Florida, Susan Brown and Nancy Haas. They're the attorneys for Larry Birkhead, who maintains he is the biological father of Dannielynn.

First, Susan, your reaction to the autopsy report?

SUSAN BROWN, FLORIDA ATTORNEY FOR LARRY BIRKHEAD: I wasn't surprised at all. It was exactly what I expected.

KING: Nancy, is Larry satisfied with the autopsy findings?

NANCY HASS, FLORIDA ATTORNEY FOR LARRY BIRKHEAD: Absolutely. Dr. Perper and the Broward medical examiners did a very thorough job. And we're very satisfied.

KING: Susan, does Larry blame anybody for the death of his former girlfriend?

BROWN: We haven't been able to confirm Larry's reaction today to the results. But I don't believe so. Larry's not that kind of person. I think Larry's main concern is the baby. Larry's main concern is the baby.

KING: Nancy, does he blame himself in any way? He tried to intervene with Anna Nicole about her drug use in the past. Does he ever think I should have done more?

HASS: Well, I think we heard Larry testify he did everything within his power, that Mr. Stern interfered with him trying to take drugs away from Anna Nicole. And it was a very difficult situation. Ultimately, as we all do, Larry thinks it was a tragedy and a senseless death.

KING: Where are we now, Susan, with the DNA story? BROWN: Well, there's a gag order in the Bahamas. I'm going to very careful in how I respond to you. It's been reported in the media. There's another hearing on April 3. I still haven't heard about the appeal from the media. And I think that's still looming out there. We expect an appeal from Mr. Stern.

KING: Does that mean, Nancy, that DNA has been taken, not taken or you can't reveal?

HASS: Well, we can't reveal. We believe the Bahamian court is acting appropriately. And we know everyone wants to know who the biological father of this child is. We know it's our client. But yes, we believe they're proceeding accordingly.

KING: Once the DNA testing is done, are we going to know, Susan?

BROWN: I hope know. Again, we're not sure. There's a gag order in place. But I would think, and I'm speculating, but I would think once the results are known, there should be an official statement.

KING: How much contact has Larry had with Dannielynn?

HASS: Well, we can't really comment on that either pursuant to the gag order, Larry. But I think that everyone's seen Larry in the media, you know. And everyone can draw their own conclusions. Of course, he wants to be reunited with his daughter and be with her everyday.

KING: Why, Nancy, is he on the list -- your client on the list of witnesses to the inquest into Daniel Smith's death?

HASS: We can't comment on that either because it is an inquest. But I think that the Bahamian court again is trying to gather all relevant information to get to the bottom of Daniel's death and why he also, you know, succumbed to a drug overdose. These are very, very serious allegations.

KING: You mean he can't even say why he's on the list for the inquest?

HASS: I'm afraid not.

KING: Why?

HASS: Because the Bahamian court likes to conduct things in a very private judicious manner. And we as attorneys have to respect that.

KING: How long do you anticipate before we know who Dannielynn's father is?

BROWN: Again, there's a hearing that's been reported in the media on April 3. I suspect an appeal. So your guess is as good as mine. I think and hope the Bahamian appeals proceed quicker than a typical appeal in the U.S. But I think the jury is still out on how long it's going to be. KING: How's Larry handling all of this, Nancy? How's he dealing with it?

HASS: Larry's doing just great. He has very high spirits at this point. I think today's coroner's report will give everyone some closure, hopefully. And his focus is really on the paternity proceedings in the Bahamas and to again be reunited with Dannielynn. That's his primary focus at this point.

KING: When everyone seemed to get together at the funeral, Susan, has this changed a lot of the harsh attitudes between Larry and Howard?

BROWN: Larry and Howard certainly got along for purposes of the funeral. But they're adversaries in court. They're both fighting for the same little girl that Larry is 110 percent sure is his. So I don't think you can be buddy-buddy in that type of situation.

KING: Nancy, this case, among the cases you've handled, where do you rank this?

HASS: Pretty much at the top, I would say. It's had every twist and turn and all kinds of issues: family law issues, probate issues. It's been a very, very intense experience for Susan and I. We've both been family attorneys for a very long time. And Larry has really been a wonderful client. But it's been very fascinating and we've been very happy to be involved and to assist him.

KING: Do you know why Larry gave up his other attorney, Susan?

BROWN: That would get into an attorney-client privilege matter that we really can't get into. I would suggest if you want that answer you speak to one of them.

KING: Thank you both very much. Susan Brown and Nancy Hass, the attorneys for Larry Birkhead.

Up next, Anna Nicole's aunt. Don't go away.


KING: Joining us now from Nassau in the Bahamas is Elaine Tabers. She is Anna Nicole's aunt, the sister-in-law of Virgie Arthur, Anna Nicole's mother.

What's been the family's reaction, Elaine, to the autopsy?

ELAINE TABERS, ANNA NICOLE'S AUNT: We're pretty devastated. We were expecting something different to come out of it. But we're not giving up. We're going to keep fighting.

KING: What were you expecting?

TABERS: We were expecting more details of what happened to her. We heard that, you know, she was running 105 fever, couldn't hardly -- she was very tired. She was laying in the bed and couldn't make it to the bathroom without assistance. Then we had people that were going to look at yachts. There were three other people in the room. And we don't understand why something wasn't done before she died.

KING: So does the family think there was negligence or criminal negligence involved?

TABERS: I won't comment right now. But yes, we think there's more to the story.

KING: But why would the government or why would the medical examiner cover it up?

TABERS: I have no idea, Larry. I wished I knew. I don't have all the facts.

KING: So you're holding strong that you believe something wrong happened here other than accidental death?

TABERS: Yes, sir. There's too many things that are unexplained and not answered.

KING: Will you be participating or will Virgie be participating rather in the inquest into Daniel's death?

TABERS: Yes, sir. We loved him very much. And when he died, that was pretty devastating. And then when Vicki died, that was -- I mean that just took about everything out of us. But we're not giving up. We're going to fight.

KING: How's your sister-in-law holding up?

TABERS: She's like -- I said, she's pretty devastated. Today was a big blow for her. But she's here in the Bahamas. She's staying here. She's not going no where until she makes sure that Dannielynn is safe and that she's with somebody that can take care of her.

KING: Has there long been a cleavage between your sister-in-law and Howard K. Stern?

TABERS: We really don't know him. But we've only met him both once ourself. And I just believe Howard didn't want anybody around her. He wanted total control. And that's pretty obvious in everything everybody said and the people that's been around.

KING: Is Virgie contemplating any legal action in this?

TABERS: I don't know at this time. She hasn't mentioned it. She's pretty devastated today. And she's just trying to unwind right now from what she heard this morning.

KING: Do you and Virgie want Larry Birkhead to be the father?

TABERS: We believe he is. But, you know, nobody's 100 percent sure. You know we've heard different stories. But, yes, we've met with Larry and we talked with Larry. And yes, he's a good guy. KING: So the sum and substance, Elaine, is you expected a different result in that autopsy, at least something involving something going wrong?

TABERS: Yes, sir, because there was too many things that, you know, was said that contradicted other things that were done. And we don't understand.

KING: Thank you for giving us the time, Elaine Tabers, Anna Nicole's aunt, as the mystery continues.

Coming up, we're going to talk to some journalists covering the Anna Nicole case, including one who spoke with Larry Birkhead just today next.


LARRY BIRKHEAD, ANNA NICOLE'S FORMER BOYFRIEND: She has a 105 degree temperature, you know, and to put her in bathwater or whatever, a bath of ice, immediately. I just don't know. I mean that would have never happened on my watch. I would have never let her gotten there. She would have never gotten on the plane to Florida from the Bahamas.



KING: Welcome back. Joining us now here in L.A. is Harvey Levin, managing editor of; the attorney and journalist in Miami, Tony Potts; correspondent and weekend co-anchor of "Access Hollywood" who interviewed Larry Birkhead earlier today. We'll see a clip of it in a little while. And also rather down farther from Miami in Nassau is Michael Bryant, "Court TV" correspondent.

Harvey, what did you make of the autopsy?

HARVEY LEVIN, MANAGING EDITOR, TMZ.COM: Well, I think the most stunning thing, Larry, was what Dr. Perper said about all these doctors who were prescribing medicine. As he said, it was being prescribed under her name, under an alias. It was being prescribed to a third person and intended for Anna Nicole Smith. So these doctors are all giving this woman drugs not knowing what the other is doing. And it's unbelievable.

KING: Don't people do it all the time though?

LEVIN: Well, doctor shop? Yes, they doctor shop. You know what they doctor shop. But this -- I mean come on, an eighth month pregnant woman and doctors are sending methadone to her overseas using an alias? I mean that's got to open your eyes a little bit.

KING: Tony Potts, what did you make of it?

TONY POTTS, CORRESPONDENT, "ACCESS HOLLYWOOD": I just that Anna was alive to speak about everything that happened that day. If you look at Dr. Perper, who did a great job in all of this, is that Dr. Perper is basing a lot of what he heard and through the interviews on people in the hotel room, those who have the most to lose if something were indeed wrong.

So, you know, when you have Larry's lawyer -- or excuse me, Howard's lawyer quoting that Dr. Perper said well, she went down to 97 degrees, well, Dr. Perper doesn't know that. That's second-hand knowledge from somebody who was in the room, who apparently did that.

Do we ever know what really happened in that room? No. Are the autopsy results correct? Absolutely.

KING: Therefore, are we saying, Michael Bryant, we're never going to know the whole story?

MICHAEL BRYANT, CORRESPONDENT, "COURT TV": That may be, Larry. I mean it really may be. And what happened today wasn't lost on the folks here in the Bahamas with the inquest starting tomorrow. They really felt that whatever was learned might somehow help into finding out how Daniel Smith died because Roger Gomez, the magistrate here, has said all along he sees these two deaths very strongly linked. There are -- quote -- "serious concerns," he said. After telling today what happened in Florida, he said wasn't surprised, didn't change his opinion on how the two might be connected.

KING: Harvey, do you think we're ever going to know it all?

LEVIN: No, no. I mean this is the situation where, you know, the interaction between all of the players here, you know, happened in private. You can't say what happened that morning because one of the people is dead and the others are just saying, look, nothing happened. And maybe nothing did happen certainly not in terms of homicide but just in terms of did anybody give her these drugs, what was going on with these injections, was she injecting herself in the past, or did she have other people injecting her and if so, why?

KING: Tony Potts got an interview today with Larry Birkhead. How did that come about, Tony?

POTTS: Well, we've been talking to Larry for a long, long time. I sat with him on the sofa here in a hotel in Miami. We sat down about 10:20, waiting for the press conference to start. He was a little nervous. He just wanted to hear what happened.

One of the things I noticed, and Harvey just mentioned it, about her giving herself injections or were other people giving injections, when that came up and Dr. Perper had said that she had -- there was an abscess and needle pierce in her left buttock, Larry looked at me and he said, "Well, wait a second." I said, "What do you mean by that?" He said, "Well, she's right-handed." And he said, "So is she going to going left, you know, there?"

Now does it have any bearing on anything? I have no idea. But there were a number of things that came up today where Larry kind of cocked his head and said, "Well, that doesn't sound just about right." So I think he was prepared for what happened today. I think he thought it was going to go down the way it did.

I can tell you, though, that he told me -- looked me in the eye and he said that, "You know there are people here," he feels that still have to give answers for what really went down in that hotel room minute by minute.

KING: Let's watch a clip of Tony Potts today with Larry Birkhead.


POTTS: What do you think? Accidental death, they say?

BIRKHEAD: Well, I mean, you know, you can have an accidental death. I don't think that she took things and you know intended to die. But I mean let's look at the facts here. I mean we've got an injection. We don't know who injected her. We have drugs that were in her system while she was living in the Bahamas, that are by all accounts illegal in the Bahamas. So where did she get those in addition to who injected her?


KING: Michael, you're in Nassau. Has all of this been handled well?

BRYANT: You know by all accounts, yes, Larry. I mean the cooperation between the Bahamian Royal Police, the folks in Florida, back and forth over the last few weeks; it doesn't look like they've skipped anything. It just looks like they didn't find the evidence they thought was necessary to claim anybody committed a crime.

KING: Do you accept that, Harvey, good job?

LEVIN: Yes. I think it was really credible job. They were thorough. I think it's interesting that they almost revealed the findings a week and half ago. And then suddenly, they wanted to look at the computer, which is really to their credit, that they thought, you know what, we want to just make sure that everything here is locked. And they wanted to see if there was any evidence that she feared for her life, if she was suicidal. And I think they did a good job.

KING: And Tony, you agree?

POTTS: Yes, I do. I think the cooperation has been excellent. We'll see what happens in the next phase, Larry.

KING: Now, we got an inquest tomorrow. I'll ask about that in a minute. We'll be right back with Harvey Levin, Tony Potts, and Michael Bryant. Don't go away.


KING: Michael Bryant in Nassau, Howard K. Stern is viewed as the key witness at the next inquest. Why? BRYANT: No doubt about it. Well, remember, there used to be another key witness named Anna Nicole Smith. She's no longer there. There were only three people in the room that morning on September 10, about 9:30. And two of them are now dead, Larry, you know, Daniel Smith and Anna Nicole. Howard K. Stern, the only person left. And so, he will be critical to talk not just about what happened leading up to that day but what happened in the critical hours the night before and that morning.

KING: Is there, Harvey, a suspicion about Daniel's death?

LEVIN: Yes. I mean when you think about it, if this kid were addicted to methadone, he would have brought a stash with him. He was going to stay there two or three weeks. They found no methadone after he died. One witness is scheduled to testify. I'm not saying this is true, but is scheduled to say that Howard K. Stern gave him the methadone and then flushed the remainder down the toilet. So somehow this kid got methadone and created this cocktail and died in the room. How did he get it?

POTTS: Larry, I can jump in on that too. After watching the pressure today with Mr. Birkhead, I can tell you what he said. And I'll quote him right here, he said, "If someone had listened to the things that I was concerned about way back, the things that led Howard and Anna to flee to the Bahamas, then I think we would have two more people alive, Daniel and Anna."

And also I should add that Larry told me he's very concerned about the well-being of Dannielynn. Why? Because the three people who are medically in charge of watching out for Anna Nicole Smith and making sure she was OK and alive, those people are also around, he believes, Dannielynn as well. So if they can't -- in his words, "can't keep an adult alive, how does he know that Dannielynn is receiving proper care" and they may not make some mistakes in the future as well. So he's very concerned. He tells me about Dannielynn's safety with these folks around.

KING: Michael, is it negligence or do you suspect worse?

BRYANT: You know I think the word that keeps coming to mind is facilitation, you know. And that's kind of a criminal word, but it means maybe there was something done more than looking the other way. And I know the folks here in the Bahamas are sensing that. They really believe that there had to be some overt act because what they've learned up to this point is suggesting that the methadone was here already. So the question becomes how did it get into Daniel Smith?

KING: Yes, do you suspect? She can't leave.

LEVIN: Well, personally, something happened here. He was fine in the airplane. And he went to the hospital, and he -- this kid dropped dead.

KING: Twenty-year-olds don't do that. LEVIN: Yes, 20 year-olds don't do that. And somehow this combination of drugs got in him. You know Daniel had problems. And he was taking methadone in Los Angeles. Howard and Anna were both aware of his drug use, discussed it with him. So how did this all happen so quickly when this kid lands in the Bahamas healthy and dies in a hospital room? Something weird happened.

KING: Tony, there'll be a lot of witnesses tomorrow?

POTTS: I'm hearing there are 40 witnesses, yes. And Larry, by the way, is now firmly back in the Bahamas. He's not doing so well, I can tell you that, physically. Looking at him, he's lost about 15 or 20 pounds. He's in a suspended state. You know where is he, where is he going to live? The thing he told me he's living off of is the joy he received from putting together little Dannielynn's crib and what-have-you in the nursery. That memory, which seems now a long time ago to him, is what he's kind of living on. But he doesn't look good to me.

KING: Tony, when does he find out the DNA results?

POTTS: Well, they're saying April 3, possibly, but Howard has this timeframe, from what I understand, people telling me, to appeal. My question is to Ron Rale earlier tonight, like you asked a yes or no question, if you're not the father, just give the baby up. I mean I can tell you Social Services has checked out every party: Virgie, Howard and also Larry. And they'll make a determination if either of those parties can take care of the baby. If Larry's the father and he can, give him the baby.

LEVIN: I'm told this is not going to happen on April 3. It was supposed to happen next week where we'd find out about the DNA. But even if Howard doesn't appeal on it, it's going to be delayed. So I think we're in for a ride on this one.

KING: Michael, what's going on? Why can't we know?

BRYANT: Yes, good question. We do know as of the close of business today, there was no appeal filed for what it's worth. So that answer not yet on us. But it may not be decided for months. Remember, this is the Bahamian system. Is isn't the U.S. system. They do things differently. They're not in a big a hurry as others might not be.

KING: Well, why shouldn't they be since this involves parenthood, the child going to the right person? You would think this would be high priority.

BRYANT: Well, they've got who they believe to be the father on the birth certificate at this point. And that's rule number one. He's also the man cohabitating with the child. That's number two. That's two strikes against anybody fighting that paternity. And they take it slow and very carefully before they disrupt that presumption.

KING: Are we going to find it out, Harvey? Are we going to find out who's the father? LEVIN: Yes, I mean eventually this DNA is going to be unveiled in a courtroom.

KING: By Dannielynn's Bar Mitzvah?

LEVIN: Let's hope not. That would help determine who the father is if she's getting a Bar Mitzvah.

KING: They'll probably do it on some quiz show. And the father is, open door 3.

We thank you Harvey Levin, Tony Potts, and Michael Bryant.

You've heard from the experts. We'd like to know what you think about the cause of Anna Nicole's death. Our text vote question of the night: Do you believe it was an accidental overdose? Text your vote from your cell phone to CNNTV, which is 26688. Text KINGA or B as in KINGB for no, and we'll reveal the results on tomorrow night's show. And of course, you can always e-mail us by going to


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