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Encore Presentation - Birkhead Responds

Aired September 8, 2007 - 21:00   ET


HARVEY LEVIN, TMZ.COM, HOST: Tonight, exclusive -- Larry Birkhead's first TV interview on those shocking, scandalous new claims that he and Howard K. Stern were caught in an intimate, compromising position and hatched a secret plot to get Larry custody of baby, Dannielynn.
Now, Larry Birkhead responds.

It's exclusive and it's next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening.

I'm Harvey Levin.

Larry has the night off.

Larry Birkhead and Howard K. Stern have threatened to sue former MSNBC anchor Rita Cosby over allegations in her new book "Blonde Ambition: The Untold Story Behind Anna Nicole Smith's Death".

The most explosive of the allegations -- that Birkhead and Stern had an affair, were caught in a compromising position, and that it's all on video.

Joining me in Los Angeles, Larry Birkhead, father of Anna's baby, Dannielynn, who turns 1-year-old this Friday.

Also, in Los Angeles, Michael Trope, Larry's attorney.

And in Los Angeles, as well, Ron Rale, who is a close friend of Howard K. Stern's and the lawyer for Anna Nicole Smith's estate.

Larry, first of all, your reaction generally to the book.

LARRY BIRKHEAD, FATHER OF ANNA NICOLE SMITH'S DAUGHTER DANNIELYNN: It's fiction. I mean, and hopefully it's sitting next to Harry Potter in the fiction aisle. Because from what I've heard without actually reading it -- just the excerpts and the phone calls and summaries that they're giving out and handing out to press, it's -- it's pure fiction. It's the most outlandish of claims that I've ever heard.

LEVIN: There -- the most explosive, clearly, and the headline in selling the book, is that Rita Cosby says she has a witness -- and possibly two people -- to say that that you and Howard K. Stern were caught in a compromising, intimate position and that this is on videotape. BIRKHEAD: Well, that's totally false and it's defamatory. It's false. It's pure fiction, again. And it's something that, you know, I've heard the sources from that, and those sources are people that don't -- that haven't been in Anna's life, much less -- and haven't even met me.

And we're talking about, I believe, two maids that had previously -- had presented a declaration that they were paid to fill out to assist me in my paternity case against Anna Nicole. And I turned those down because those individuals were being paid by other individuals who had axes to grind.

And you have the other person who supposedly witnessed this videotape who's never met me, whose last contact with Anna Nicole was in 2001. And I didn't even meet Anna Nicole until 2003 and our relationship didn't begin until 2004. So this individual would have to quantum leap into the future to even -- to know me, because she was already cast out of Anna Nicole's life long before that I even came along.

So, again, it's just -- it's crazy. It's -- it's something that was never verified by the author of the book. She didn't have the decency to call me and ask me if this was true. It was something that was printed and being...

LEVIN: Did she ever talk to you?

BIRKHEAD: She -- I have met Rita Cosby before.

LEVIN: I mean when she was preparing for the book.

BIRKHEAD: Never -- never told me -- never told me or anyone else that she contacted around me that she was preparing for a book.

LEVIN: Earlier today, TMZ actually caught up with Rita Cosby in New York and we asked her about the video she says exists that shows this.

Interesting reaction.

Take a look.


RITA COSBY: I have not seen the videotape. But I will say that we have enough corroborating people who say that they have. We know people who clearly have been told there is a videotape that exists and have talked to people who have seen the videotape.

And if you pair that up, also, with suddenly these guys being best of friends; suddenly, also, Larry Birkhead telling Virgie Arthur, Anna Nicole Smith's mother, that they're going to come out with something -- she's asked, "Was there a tape?" and he wouldn't say.

And now suddenly this guy, who Larry Birkhead said was capable of a lot of things -- accusing him of money-laundering, accusing him of doing other things maybe connected to Daniel's death, maybe Anna Nicole Smith's death, and now they're friends.

I mean just look at the series of events and it begs the question why?

And I think the American public should be very concerned about the state this little girl is in. Here's this little beautiful little Dannielynn. And if you read my book and if you look at what these people are saying on record, they feel both of these guys are in cahoots, that they're into it for fame, for money and murder don't have this little girl's interests at heart.


LEVIN: What's your reaction to that?

BIRKHEAD: Well, actually, you know, I think that's just crazy because she's -- she goes from one thing to another. She says she's never seen the video that she reports in her book that exists. And then now she's backpedaling, saying, well, how else could you explain two guys who are enemies now getting along?

And trying to make sense out of something that she's -- that she never verified in the first place. And what I'll say about that is I've never accused Howard Stern of money-laundering. I've never accused him of being responsible for Howard or Anna's death. And Howard and I have not always seen eye to eye. That's obvious and you can rewind probably a million tapes where we went, you know, against each other in the press and, you know, in court.

And, you know, there's -- there's no secret deals. There's no side deals. And what I decided to do was put my daughter's best interests, you know, in mind, contrary to what Miss. Cosby says. And that's to stop all these fights, stop all these feuds.

You know, Anna Nicole is dead. Her son is dead. I'm not going to die fighting people because of these, you know, these crazy things that happened. I can't change what happened in the past. I had my position. Howard has his position. And that's the way that it is.

And I'm not -- I don't always agree with Howard. And there's no side deals. There was no side deal to get custody because, technically, if Rita Cosby, you know, would have checked out anything, she would know that I'm still fighting for custody in the Bahamas and I have temporary custody of my daughter. And I have to return to the Bahamas jurisdiction, along with my daughter, Dannielynn, to fight a nuisance claim from Virgie Arthur, who is also a source in this book.

And, you know, what you have here in this book is the axe grinders club. It's a bunch of people who are currently in litigation with myself, with Howard Stern or the estate. And these people are all Rita Cosby's credible sources.

And in Journalism 101, you don't just go out there -- you know, I have a journalism background -- and the first day, I think, in the class, they tell you, you know, check your sources. Double check your facts. And you give the -- you give your subjects time to respond. And she didn't have the decency to pick up the phone. And she knows my phone number because she's called it. And she didn't call it when she was writing a book. And she's called relatives and friends and tried to poke around and didn't tell any of them that she was writing a book.

And she tried to befriend me on several occasions. And how I met Rita Cosby is basically she introduced me to the attorney that I -- that I fired. Her name is Debra Opri, basically. And she told me Debra Opri would represent me for free in my paternity case. All of the while, Deb -- Rita Cosby tried to get me to land on her airwaves when she actually had a job working as a journalist and basically asked me if I would interview with her time and time again. And I kept turning her down.

But she says, well, I still believe in you and I believe that, you know, this is, you know, your daughter. And this lady will help you for free.

So, in turn for that, all of a sudden I was being pushed on shows and taken to the studio where, for one of the first interviews I did, was with Rita Cosby. Unbeknownst to me -- I was told I was making a general statement to the public. And then I show up on Rita Cosby's airwaves and she's being funneled -- via my former attorney -- these papers that I, you know, that were sealed in my paternity action, which is, you know, against the law in California to release that stuff. And that's what I dealt with the whole time that I was represented by this attorney. And it was always Rita Cosby shows up at the most craziest of times -- at a funeral. She'll show up at dinner when you don't invite her and then all of a sudden everything's off the record and she's on MSNBC's dime, you know, making money from them.

LEVIN: So you think basically when you and Debra Opri parted ways, that's when the relationship with Rita Cosby turned?

BIRKHEAD: Yes, because I immediately -- Rita Cosby sent me an e- mail -- and I still have it. And it says sorry to see you and Deb parted ways. And I wrote her a response back that said I blame you for some of this.

And she says, what, getting your daughter, I hope?

And I said, you know, I just didn't respond to her, because she knew what she did. She knew the connection. She knew that, you know, this whole thing was you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours.

And I'm not saying that Debra Opri gave her anything that's contained in this book. I'm saying that she gave her plenty of other things that were -- that's funneled and it's made its way to the press, when she actually had an audience before she -- they didn't renew her contract. And now she's out pedaling a book because that's all that -- that's all that's left for her.

LEVIN: The $64,000 question -- will Larry and the lawyers sue?

We will talk about that when we come back.

You're watching LARRY KING LIVE.


BIRKHEAD: There was a behind the scenes war brewing with me and Mr. Stern, where he had called me and told me to deny that I was the father of the child.



DEBRA OPRI, ATTORNEY: We do not want a bait and switch of a child.

JUDGE LARRY SEIDLIN: There's no circus here, my friend.

HOWARD K. STERN: As far as I'm concerned, Larry can come over to the house and spend as much time with her as he wants right now.



LEVIN: Welcome back.

We are talking about Rita Cosby's new explosive and salacious book about Larry Birkhead and Howard K. Stern.

Joining us in studio is Larry Birkhead; along with his lawyer, Michael Trope; and Howard K. Stern's very close friend and Anna Nicole Smith's former personal lawyer, Ron Rale.

Larry, are you going to sue?

BIRKHEAD: I've been instructed by my attorney to sue Rita Cosby and the publisher, and any source that -- that spits out of some of that false, defamatory information that's in there because, you know, again, I think that it's a waste of my time as a father, because I had to come down here tonight and break away from my daughter, who's teething. And she's getting ready to walk and say her first words.

And I have to respond to this junk and this smut from a so-called journalist who wants to put out this stuff without asking, you know, bottom line questions and checking out the facts and sources before she puts stuff.

So if I was Rita Cosby, I'd be very concerned. If I were the publisher, I would be very concerned. And I would lawyer up if I were them, because it's coming their way.

LEVIN: Is this the real deal, Michael?

MICHAEL TROPE, ATTORNEY FOR LARRY BIRKHEAD: Rita Cosby is a character assassin. This whole book is character assassination. The clip that you just played of Rita Cosby talking about Larry Birkhead's parenting, she's never even seen this man parenting his daughter. It's character assassination. And the book doesn't belong next to Harry Potter, it belongs on the bookshelf next to the O.J. book. That's where it belongs.

LEVIN: So this lawsuit is real?

TROPE: This lawsuit is real. This woman is a character assassin and she's going to get her just reward.

LEVIN: Ron, you are in touch with Howard K. Stern and, also, you've talked with Lynn Wood, Howard's lawyer.

Is he joining in this?

RON RALE, GOOD FRIEND OF HOWARD K. STERN, WAS ONE OF ANNA NICOLE SMITH'S ATTORNEYS: Absolutely. Actually, I gave a quote yesterday. One of the papers in town asked me to give a quote about what's going to happen, what I thought of Lynn Wood. And they said that my comment was a little bit weird. But I'll say it now, because they didn't print it that way.

Lynn Wood is a monster and this guy is going to go after Rita Cosby and the publisher. I think that this is a source of comfort for Howard because he knows that he has a monster on his side. And, you know, he will not take hostages.

TROPE: Just watch what happens.

LEVIN: You actually made a comment to TMZ about possibly suing MSNBC, as well.


BIRKHEAD: Well, you know, again, Rita Cosby came during the Florida trial and also into the Bahamas. She came several times on MSNBC's dime, as an MSNBC reporter. She brought a producer with her. And she -- not at my request, at my attorney's, my former attorney's request -- came to dinner, came where she drank alcohol, drank food, everything at my expense later I got billed for.

LEVIN: This is part of the bill...

BIRKHEAD: This is part...

LEVIN: ...that you're disputing?

BIRKHEAD: Yes, this is part of my big bill. So, basically, she comes down there and she says that she's a friend, a supporter and not working. But yet she is working. And she's going out and doing live shots the next day, you know, with some of these documents, some of these things that she's being told and some of the things that were, "off record". And some of the things in this book, obviously, were never told to her or anyone else.

But that's why I'm considering -- I'm considering going after everybody. So they're just one of the many people that, you know, might want to get worried, too.

LEVIN: And OK! magazine is talking about running a cover story. It looks like that may be a done deal.

What about that?

BIRKHEAD: Well, they've been put on notice, too, that all the allegations in this book are false and that -- basically that's another whole story because that's more sour grapes, because my daughter appeared on another magazine cover with a competing magazine. I received e-mails from a reporter at that magazine that said that they were going to do a nasty story on me if I can -- if I cooperated with another magazine, because they were going to shoot, exclusively, my daughter's birthday.

And I told them they weren't going to threaten me and if -- they can do whatever they want to do and basically and then I would see them in court, as well.

So we'll see what comes out of -- of their malice on the newsstands.

And, you know, and I urge everybody that's thinking about this book and these magazines or whatever, instead of giving a dollar for this junk, go give 50 cents to your local charity.

I mean this stuff is just absolute -- just crap, you know?

And excuse my language, but this is just the smuttiest stuff that just -- with the most unreliable sources -- that I've ever seen. And, basically, it wreaks of a few people. And I think those people will go down with this book, as well.

LEVIN: Jackie Hatten, who was kind of a figure in this whole saga, kind of looms large in all of this. She is the person who says she walked in on you and Howard K. Stern.

What's the deal there with her?

BIRKHEAD: Well, again, Jackie Hatten has never met me. There was nothing to walk in on because, you know, nothing like that's ever happened. And there's definitely no video of it. And I challenge Rita Cosby, before she put it in a book, she should have went out and watched the video herself, you know, as the video of this, you know, smut. And she didn't do that.

Now she's saying a friend of a friend of someone who told someone, you know, like triple hearsay or whatever. And she has nothing to back it up. And so, basically, I mean Jackie Hatten has never met me and she wasn't even a friend of Anna at the end. I mean I know she says she was the godmother of Daniel, which is not the case. I know her brother got into some legal trouble with Anna as far as some terroristic threats.

LEVIN: He had been involved with her.

BIRKHEAD: He has. And he's in jail. And he also claimed that he was the father of Dannielynn, you know, from jail.

LEVIN: Right.

BIRKHEAD: And, so, basically -- I mean the story just gets so crazy that it's, you know -- I think Rita Cosby is relying on the fact that this, you know, had a screenwriter had written this whole saga, no one would believe it, you know, how these things -- events have unfolded. So she just throws something in there and maybe someone will bite it. Maybe they'll buy this book. And...

LEVIN: Yes. You know, it's interesting, Jackie Hatten was on LARRY KING during the whole custody fight. And she defended Larry Birkhead on the show.

Take a listen.


LARRY KING, HOST: Do you think she was in love with Larry and that had Larry's baby?


KING: Why did they break up?

HATTEN: Howard.

Why did my brother and she break up?


Why did Peter and she break up?


Why did Jonathan and she break up?


I mean he gets in the way of everything. He caused a fight with Larry Birkhead. They broke up. She went away to have the baby and get her thoughts straight.

KING: But she told you that Larry was the father of the baby?

HATTEN: She told me Larry was the father, yes.


LEVIN: What turned?

BIRKHEAD: Oh, you know, I don't know, because I've never met her, so I couldn't say where -- what kind of -- you know, what -- where her mind is. But I know that she's definitely friends with Virgie Arthur, which is, you know, Anna Nicole's mother, who I'm still fighting in the Bahamas. So, you know, you can scratch your head on that one or connect the dots.

And then, you know -- so I don't know. I mean, you know, if she -- she was not a friend of Anna Nicole's toward the end of her life. I know that for a fact. Because, you know, from the time I met Anna Nicole to the time of her death, Jackie Hatten's name was never mentioned. She never once called any phone that Anna Nicole ever had. And that's the same thing for her mother.

These people were people that were outcasts of Anna's life, for whatever reason. That's not my fight. But I know for certain...

LEVIN: And Howard is in lockstep on this, right?

RALE: Yes. I mean -- I don't know if I give you a few -- a little bit of a time line here. Because Anna met Jackie Hatten somewhere in 1998, approximately. I did the deal. Anna was doing this Miss. Cuervo Gold thing. Jackie Hatten, I think, was there on the island. And she's a wannabe Anna Nicole. She thinks she looks like Anna Nicole, all kinds of -- she's got a hang-up, I believe, about trying to be Anna Nicole.

But, regardless, by 2000, I think Jackie and Anna Nicole and Howard went to the Academy Awards. That's the only pictures you'll ever see, I think, with Anna Nicole and Jackie Hatten in the same vicinity.

After that, challenge her to find some pictures. There are none. She was not involved.

Jackie has a brother, Mark. His name is Mark Hatten. And somewhere around the end of 2000 -- 2001, I believe it was, this guy beat up one of Anna Nicole's neighbors in North Hollywood, on Hartsook, right near my Aunt Ethel. And it wasn't even the Studio City house where Anna lived after.

But that house is where Mark Hatten was stalking Anna. He ended up getting tried and convicted in Van Nuys. I was there defending her at that trial.

Anna explicitly told me never allow Mark Hatten around or her or his sister, Jackie. And I hired security for the house on Hartsook.

That's the last time that Anna Nicole ever saw Jackie Hatten. And she never went to her house in Studio City, where this alleged act occurred. Never.

LEVIN: We are going to take a break.

And when we come back, we're going to talk about the complicated relationship between Larry Birkhead and Howard K. Stern.

Don't go away.


LEVIN: I'm Harvey Levin in for Larry King tonight. We are talking about the explosive new book written by Rita Cosby about Larry Birkhead and Howard K. Stern.

The headline of the book is an allegation made by a former friend of Anna Nicole's, Jackie Hatten, who says that she walked in on Larry Birkhead and Howard K. Stern when they were in the middle of an intimate relationship. And Rita Cosby says there is video to prove it.

Jackie Hatten issued this statement to earlier today: "I have not read the book yet. However, Rita Cosby is such a reputable reporter and person, I can only assume it is true and credible. I am happy the American public will finally know the truth. Hopefully, the truth will bring justice for my friends. I pray we will finally see the inquest move forward regarding Daniel's death and that Anna Nicole Smith's death will be reopened and reviewed again for the sake of little Dannielynn."

For the record, Rita Cosby and the publisher did not comment to TMZ -- excuse me, I'm sorry about that, I'm confusing jobs here -- comment to CNN about this show tonight with our panel.

And, Michael, you just heard the statement.

Is -- are you setting your sights on Hatten?

TROPE: Well, it's interesting, because Hatten did not confirm that she even made the statement that was attributed to her in Cosby's book. She merely said well, I assume that she is a credible reporter and therefore whatever is in the book is accurate.

Yes, we will have our sights set on Hatten. But we don't even know that Hatten, at the end of the day, will even say that she did say those things to Rita Cosby.

LEVIN: Cosby says in the book, essentially, that you brokered a deal for Dannielynn, that you basically said to Howard, look, I'll cut you in on the back end here and you'll get, you know, you'll administer the estate and, in return, give me the baby.

BIRKHEAD: That's absolutely false.

And, actually, I still don't even have custody of the child. Like I said earlier, I'm still -- I'm still, you know, for Dannielynn, I'm still fighting for her in the Bahamas. So I still have to return back to a foreign jurisdiction to fight this out.

Howard was removed from the Bahamas action by the judge there after he was declared not to be the father.

So, basically, now I still fight -- I'm still fighting Virgie for the same thing.

So to me, that makes no sense.

And as far as what my goal in this, is to protect my daughter. And, you know, Howard and I have not seen eye to eye on everything and we still disagree on things. And that's -- that probably will continue.

But Dannielynn has her own attorneys. Howard doesn't represent me or Dannielynn in the estate. And Howard has his own attorney, as the executor of the estate. And that's what Anna's wishes under her first will were.

And I don't want to fight for money. If I was going to -- if I wanted to be greedy and fight for money, I could have, you know, challenged anything I wanted to and tried to put myself in that position.

But I have a daughter to raise and like I said, you know, just being here tonight takes me away from that. And I don't have time for all these battles. And because when Anna Nicole died, basically, all of the battles that she was fighting got pushed to me. And, you know -- and now I'm a target for all this whatever -- this nonsense and this craziness. And all I do every day is get up and know that I'm a good dad.

And, you know, this -- this just basically is just a distraction that's unnecessary.

LEVIN: So how did this happen with Howard that he ended up basically being part of the estate and administering it?

RALE: No, I mean, first of all, let's make something clear. Half of what -- when people started talking about these deals -- Howard is not a beneficiary. He can't give half -- Larry half of something. Dannielynn is going to be the beneficiary. It's Anna's children.

So when people start talking about that, I start scratching my head and I think this is sensationalism to fool the public.

Because half of what?

Howard is an executor. He's waived his compensation. He said that the moment Anna died, that he would not take a dime as an executor, OK?

On this accessory executor, I wouldn't be taking compensation either. But Larry, I think, is going to be a guardian, but he's not a beneficiary of the estate.

So half of what?

It's a big joke to fool the public and I think the public should be insulted that people are saying these kind of things.


A short back.

When we come back, there are some really serious allegations involving drugs in Rita Cosby's book. We will address that with our panel.

You're watching LARRY KING LIVE.


BIRKHEAD: You know, I'm the father and nobody should have the right to take my child that I fought so hard to know away from me.

KING: Did you always know she was yours?

STERN: Always. I always knew it.



KING: So you are the father?

STERN: Yes, sir.

I think based on the timing of it that there shouldn't be any doubt.



LEVIN: Unfortunately, we do not have time for callers tonight. Attorney Debra Opri did call us, and we asked her to give a statement, but she has not provided us with one as of yet. Many of the Birkhead accusations against Debra Opri that you heard tonight are in Larry Birkhead's lawsuit against Opri in attorney's fees. In the book, Larry, Rita Cosby makes an allegation that you gave Anna Nicole Smith cocaine.

BIRKHEAD: Well, I'd like to know where she gets that information from because those people will be sued as well as Rita Cosby's going to be sued. But that's absolutely false, and I think the public and I think anybody that knows me knows how I feel about medications, drugs, et cetera. And not only would I not do that, knowing that Anna Nicole was carrying my child, you know, I mean, I think that, you know, cocaine itself is something that's never been around me. So I think that that's absolutely false. It's just as fictional as the other claims. And, you know, I think that it's just one more lie to add to the book.

LEVIN: But you have said in the past that one of the reasons you broke up with her was because of drugs.

BIRKHEAD: You know, I've said it in the past, and I don't want to restate history because, again, I have a daughter that's getting older and, you know, the information age we're in, she sees all this, I'm not taking back what I said about anything, but I'll just say this. There were things that I was concerned about, and, you know, those things, you know, basically, it wasn't anything that I would have supplied if I had my own concerns. I mean, you know, it's like why would I give someone something that I've said in the past that I've fought against? It just doesn't make sense. It doesn't add up. And that's another thing that Rita Cosby's going to have to write a check for.

LEVIN: Ron, Cosby says in the book that Howard was pumping Anna with mind-bending drugs.

RALE: You know, I mean, this makes me tired even revisiting this stuff because we've been through it all in Florida and the investigation or the coroner's investigation. And Howard would never pump Anna with drugs. Howard was Anna's biggest supporter. He would never do anything to harm her. And I can tell you from the day that they met, and I was around, Howard would do anything to protect Anna. Anna -- Howard would be not only her lover, but her best friend -- sorry, Larry, but back during the whole time of their relationship, you know, I think it was genuine.

I think that Anna and Larry had a genuine relationship also. But Howard would never do anything to harm Anna. And it's ludicrous. He wouldn't pump her with any kind of drugs at all.

LEVIN: You know, truth be told, I mean, there is video out there of Howard filming Anna when she was wearing that clown get-up and seemed out of it.

RALE: You know, again, I mean, if we had more time and if you would have seen the whole clown video, I think there's another interpretation of that. I think, you know, I don't want to talk about it at length right now, but Anna, if you would have seen the whole video, you might have thought that she wasn't on drugs at all and that she was just acting during that part. I understand that that snippet was played during the Florida trial, but regardless, that has nothing to do with Howard feeding Anna Nicole drugs. He never did. I don't think ...

LEVIN: Michael, isn't that a problem, when you file a lawsuit and you try all of this in court, everything gets laid on the table. And this is a complicated series of lives that were intertwined. And all of that kind of gets put out to the jury.

TROPE: Well, it all gets laid out on the table, but, you know, at the end of the day, jurors are intelligent people. And at the end of the day, they're going to see a good guy and a character assassin. And at the end of the day, they're going to have to make a credibility call as to who's telling the truth. And when you have a character assassin and a good dad and a jury has to make a call as to who's telling the truth, I believe that they'll make the right decision.

LEVIN: Anna Nicole told you, I remember, reading somewhere that this was the price you would have to pay for being involved with her.

BIRKHEAD: Yeah, she did. She told me, she said, you know, basically they'll have you with dogs, frogs, rats or bats, whatever they can pair you up with and say you did this or that and, you know, guilty of all these things. And that's how she lived her life. And I remember one of the first stories that came out after she was pregnant where they said, you know, Larry's a sperm donor, this, that or the other. And I took the magazine into her. She said, look, that's part of it. That's how I live my life. Get thick skinned, you know. And just get over it. And so basically those words always ring in my head.

And not to say that things people say aren't hurtful or distracting or take time away from my daughter, but that's the name of the game, I guess. But there's a difference in someone's opinion and outright lies and just stuff to fill a book and garbage. So ...

LEVIN: One of the things that isn't a lie that is in the book is that G. Ben Thompson, the man with whom Anna Nicole Smith had a brief relationship and Anna Nicole Smith at one point told him that he was the dad. He was in the hospital room when Daniel died.

RALE: That's not true.

LEVIN: It's not true?

RALE: That's not true.

LEVIN: I thought it was.

RALE: I meant to call you about this. That's absolutely not true. Ben Thompson -- I'd like to talk about other things about Ben Thompson if we have time, but Ben Thompson unequivocally was not there when Daniel died. He may have visited the hospital after the fact, but he wasn't there at the time that Daniel had died, absolutely not.

LEVIN: What's the state of the inquest into Daniel's death right now?

RALE: Excuse me. Actually, I haven't been in contact with the Bahamian counsel, but as I understand it, there was a proceeding not that long ago where they basically suspended the inquest because there was a ruling that the magistrate that was conducting it, I believe, had not conducted it properly. I think the magistrate himself had given a TV interview, and there was a question about how they are supposed to voir dire the jurors off the street that were going to serve in the inquest.

But I think that the proceeding has been delayed. I'm not exactly sure what is left, if anything, of the inquest. And if it's going to go forward or not. So I don't want to, you know, start talking about stuff I don't know for sure about.

LEVIN: If the inquest goes through, you're on the witness list. And given the way things have developed, is that going to be awkward for you to testify, you know, especially, you know, given that Howard's part of this whole thing?

BIRKHEAD: You know, not really because when I say something or give a statement to anybody -- and I've cooperated in a few things in this case, whether it's different investigations that are going on, and I just say the truth. And it's not up to me to interpret how my words are used in any way. It's just that I go out there and say what I have to say.

I don't think anything that I've said would do one or the other. You know, basically, my knowledge is basically leading up to the time that I had a relationship when it ended with Anna Nicole. And everything that happened after that, that's nothing for me to decide and to say what happened because I wasn't, you know, privileged to that information.

LEVIN: We are going to take a break. When we come back, there is an allegation in this book, Rita Cosby's book, that Anna Nicole didn't really love Larry Birkhead, that he was essentially a sperm donor. We will get reactions to that when we come back. You are watching LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: He sent a statement to us, Howard. He said I've been told by Anna Nicole Smith that I'm the father of her newborn child. I have proof of it. How do you respond to that?

HOWARD K. STERN, FORMER BOYFRIEND OF ANNA NICOLE SMITH: I mean, I think first you have to look at what his motives are. And, you know, if he honestly believed that he was the father based on when the baby was born, he should have handled it appropriately.



LEVIN: Welcome back to LARRY KING. I'm Harvey Levin sitting in. We are talking about Rita Cosby's new book about Larry Birkhead and Howard K. Stern, explosive allegations in the book. Larry, one of them is that Anna Nicole Smith didn't love you and had no intention of staying in a long-term relationship. She essentially wanted a guy with blue eyes and blond hair as a sperm donor, and you fit the bill.

BIRKHEAD: Well, I mean, that's false. I mean, there's enough, you know, correspondence when it's written between Anna and myself, telephone calls, people that witnessed the relationship that went on for, like, two and a half years. And nobody knew I was dating her. You know, it wasn't like I was jumping up and down. One of the allegations in her book is that because I wanted to be a celebrity. You know, that's why I wanted to date her. It wasn't for love for me or whatever.

If that was the case, I would have been jumping up and down saying, hey, Anna Nicole's my girlfriend a few years back. As far as her -- Rita saying that Anna Nicole didn't love me or whatever is more garbage. And Anna Nicole did want another baby. She wanted it for a long time. And the fact that this whole story about sperm donor or whatever, that's another old tabloid, you know, headline that, you know, has been picked up and repeated and rehashed years and years and years ago, that Anna was looking for friends to have a child with because she wanted another child.

And, you know, a child is something that she wanted, something we both talked about over and over. You know, and I'm just glad that I was able to give her, you know, one of the last things that she wanted before she passed away.

LEVIN: Ron, the -- something like this must be tough on anybody. How's Howard taking this?

RALE: You know, it's -- this is just another chapter in probably the most egregious scheme of defamation and, you know, just defamation in history, maybe. But Howard, I would say more. I mean, I think he's going to hold up. I think that Howard is actually a pretty tough guy, but this is devastating for him because it's just another chapter. I would say that a big part of what Howard is feeling is the -- is the torment that his family is going through.

People don't realize there are other victims when you do this kind of defamation. It's not only the victim, Howard, and Larry, but it's their families, what they have to go through. I met with Howard's mom. I just happened to be coming back from court today, and I stopped by and I visited with her. You may have seen Howard's parents on a show here and there, but they're the nicest, most humble people. And this is the thing that makes me crazy because I think of just like my own family, to have Howard's mom almost crying, well, she's been crying a lot to have her son subjected to this.

She doesn't know if Howard's going to make it. I know Howard will make it. And I want to assure her. And we're going to band together and make sure. Just like Larry. We're all on the same team here because nobody should have to be put through this. And we'll do whatever it takes to make sure that these people are held accountable.

LEVIN: Anderson Cooper is coming up at the top of the hour on AC 360. Let's go to Anderson in New York for a preview.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Harvey, thanks very much. Breaking news, Senator Larry Craig may not quit the senate after all. You'll recall the senator said this weekend he intends to resign after it was revealed police arrested him for soliciting sex in a Minneapolis airport men's room in June, he pled guilty to disorderly conduct. Tonight, a Craig spokesman says the senator may reconsider his decision to quit if he's cleared of charges. The story just broke about an hour ago. We'll have in-depth coverage at the top of the hour.

We're also covering breaking news on Steven Fossett, the record breaking pilot and world famous adventurer is missing after taking off from an airport in Nevada earlier today. Both stories, Harvey, at the top of the hour.

LEVIN: Thanks, Anderson. Just to clarify something I said earlier, we did ask Rita Cosby and her publisher for written statements regarding this controversy. They did not supply one. When we come back, the statement Larry Birkhead's former lawyer just supplied to us. Stay tuned.


KING: Tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: And I will do everything i can to make her the next president, and so should you. Thank you very much. KING: Former President Bill Clinton on LARRY KING LIVE.


LEVIN: I'm Harvey Levin in for Larry King tonight. A few minutes ago we received a statement from Debra Opri, Larry Birkhead's former lawyer. Here's what she had to say. "I was invited today to call in to respond to statements regarding Rita Cosby's book. When I called in, I was told that I could not get on the air, but to give a statement. I have sat by for six months while the alter ego of Larry Birkhead has gone on the airwaves with his claims, and I am here to state the day will come when I will have my say. Larry knows full well that what he is telling the American public is a complete falsehood tonight. While I had no involvement in the book, I have read it, and I believe in good faith that its content is accurate. I will refrain from any further comments at this time, but it disgusts me what has been happening with Dannielynn, a child I fought so hard for."


BIRKHEAD: Well, I think, you know, again, you know, she's upset because she can't get on television. What's new? We've all heard what she has to say. She's been on every single airwave to listen to her. And I'd like to know, just to add to my other lawsuit, what disgusts her so much with my daughter. Since she's never seen her. She didn't fight hard for her. She fought to get on television. And DNA was determined in the Bahamas, not in California. In addition to that, I've had a hefty large bill sent my way for a bunch of nonsense and jurisdiction jumping that she put me through.

So enough of her because that's what she'd like for me to say more about her. But I will say this. When I was in Florida with Rita Cosby present in the same room with Debra Opri, an individual gave me documents to assist me in my paternity case. I witnessed Debra Opri giving them personally to Rita Cosby and I jerked them out of Rita Cosby's hands and said what are you doing with those? She said Deb gave them to me. And I says, well, you're not supposed to have those and those were not meant for you. Those were meant to help me in my paternity action and you're not to use them. Rita Cosby backed down and said, well, I probably couldn't have used them anyway.

That's the kind of stuff I witnessed. And there are witnessed that show Debra Opri was communicating with Rita Cosby throughout this case. And I'll be glad for my day when I can show those.

LEVIN: Is Opri in your sights?

TROPE: Well, perhaps the real alter ego scenario is Rita Cosby and Debra Opri. Because people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. That's all I'll say.


RALE: Debra Opri? I mean ... LEVIN: No, the statement. I mean, the statement is just laying it on the line. She's laying, look, she thinks this book is the real deal. It's accurate.

RALE: You know what? I'm not exactly sure if she's commenting on just the part about what Larry mentioned, releasing sealed documents to Cosby or if she's confirming the heinous acts that Rita Cosby said alleged -- that she says occurred. I'm not sure actually what Rita -- Debra Opri is commenting on. So I won't say anything else.

BIRKHEAD: I'll say this, too. Some of these things that are sent out in this book, out of these sensationalized headlines, these are some of the same things that I've heard from other individuals that Debra Opri's been saying to them all along. So this doesn't surprise me. And if Debra Opri wanted me to get technical, I could say some of the same things she said about Rita Cosby in various areas of Rita Cosby's life that I choose not to go into because what Rita Cosby does is none of my business. I had many opportunities to write a book, the same type of book that Rita Cosby has written. And I turned every one of those opportunities down. And the money has been very large. And I said I'm not going to write a sleazy, scummy book that drags people through the mud because I could drag a lot of people through the mud and she would be one of them, and so would a lot of people involved in this. That's not how I choose to live my life.

And basically so let all of them bring it on because I'm ready. I'm going to defend anyone who says I'm a bad parent. Another thing that Ms. Opri's been spreading around, and I'm ready, ready to fight whoever and anybody that gets in my way because my job is to shield my daughter from all this. She's sitting at home right now, and she's none the wiser to this stuff. And let me be the shield, let them beat me up and say whatever they want to say. As long as they call me dad, let them say it and then I'm going to have my day in court with every single one of them.

LEVIN: We are going to take a break. When we come back, we're going to talk about another allegation in the book, that Larry Birkhead accused Howard K. Stern of being involved in the death of Daniel. Also, we'll find out how Dannielynn is doing. You're watching LARRY KING LIVE.



KING: Here is Dannielynn. Can we get a good -- there she is. Look at that face. Now, she does look like her mother, right?

BIRKHEAD: She does.

KING: Would you agree?

BIRKHEAD: A lot of people say she looks like me. A lot of people say she has my eyes and different features.

KING: Well, it's a combination ...

BIRKHEAD: Hopefully (ph).

KING: Do you know that you're famous, little baby?

BIRKHEAD: Not yet. Hopefully she doesn't have to know that.


LEVIN: Just one quick correction in Debra Opri's statement, earlier she referred to having been invited to having, quote, "call in to respond to statements regarding Rita Cosby's book."

In fact, she was invited to submit a written statement. She did that tonight during the show, and we appreciate it. Larry, there is an accusation in Rita Cosby's book that you accused Howard of killing Daniel.

BIRKHEAD: Never. Never did that happen. I don't even know what her source is on that, and I haven't read the whole book. I've just seen certain things, but that's entirely false.

I mean, there's all kinds of things that are crazy. Like the first meeting with my child, Howard gave me a loving embrace and said but yet "Don't touch the baby." Just things that were given to Rita Cosby by a security guard named Mark Spear. His real name is Mark Spears. He leaves the "S" off so nobody can trace him. Who was not even present in the room.

So these are the types of characters that come forward, people on Opri's team, people on Virgie Arthur's team, people that have an ax to grind.

LEVIN: When was the last time you and Howard saw Rita Cosby?

RALE: That would have been in the Bahamas. After Anna's funeral, there was a gathering at a house, a very nice estate there. Cosby had been at the funeral. I believe she was invited by Virgie Arthur, the same person who file aid motion to try to stop the funeral, the day of the funeral. Suddenly we're at the party, if you will, after. And all of Anna's close friends and family are, you know, her side, Howard's side, suddenly Rita Cosby comes in the party. And so I got assigned the task of bouncing her out. So I asked her to leave, and she wouldn't. And it was -- she was - it was almost embarrassing. It was like a high school party. I'm asking her to leave, please, don't embarrass yourself. Just walk out. And she wouldn't.

So she's walking around arguing with me. I've got these cameras from I think "E.T." following us around. She took me into a little side room and she's pleading to not be bounced out and I said nobody wants you here. You said offensive things. You shouldn't be here. Please leave. And she wouldn't leave. Suddenly I think Krista Barth come into the room with us and Krista Barth took it up a couple notches higher and they were face to face, I thought there was going to be a catfight. I said, look, Rita, walk out, save yourself the humiliation, and she finally left. That's the last I saw of her.

LEVIN: Let's find out about Dannielynn. How's she doing?

BIRKHEAD: She's doing great. She's reaching that one-year mark here coming up.

LEVIN: Friday.

BIRKHEAD: Which is another reason for this book, to capitalize off the publicity surrounding my daughter's first birthday, Daniel, the anniversary of his death. And again, she's doing great, though. She's just a great baby. I couldn't ask for a healthier, happier baby. I'm just -- I'm still excited as day one, you know, to be a dad and to have her in my life and to know that, you know, that we're each other -- that we're all each other have. So just great. She's doing ...

LEVIN: A big party?

BIRKHEAD: A big party, but a secret party. But it is a big party.

LEVIN: It must be tough kind of raising a kid in the middle of all of this.

BIRKHEAD: It is. But, you know, you just take your lumps and keep going and basically you just let it roll off. And that's why I have attorneys. And they deal with that. And so I can be a dad and not have to deal with all this craziness.

LEVIN: Larry Birkhead and his entourage. OK, Larry, thank you so much, so much for spending the hour with us. Michael Trope, thank you as well, and Ron Rale.

As always, we appreciate you tuning in tonight. This was kind of an interesting response to a very controversial book. And that will do it for LARRY KING LIVE tonight. Thanks for watching. Thanks to Larry for letting me sit in. Don't forget to check out his Web site at

When you get there, you can download the newest podcasts, Jack Hanna and his wild animals or submit Webcam questions or e-mail our upcoming guests. Just go to Stay tuned now for ANDERSON COOPER 360. He is standing by in New York. Take it away, Anderson.