The attorney for former Playboy Playmate Anna Nicole Smith on Tuesday accused her former stepson of lying under oath, falsifying documents and spying on her with private detectives, all in a scheme to cheat Smith out of her Texas oil tycoon husband's multimillion-dollar estate.
Those charges came amid a nasty exchange during closing arguments in the month-long federal court hearing in Santa Ana over the fortune of J. Howard Marshall II, a Houston oilman who married the centerfold three years after meeting her at a Texas strip club in 1991.
The attorney for Marshall's son, E. Pierce Marshall, called Smith's allegations the unfounded fantasies of a "paranoid" woman. He also accused her of putting on "her best Marilyn Monroe impersonation" when she took the stand and was grilled about her testimony that her husband promised her half his fortune.
"[She] was not this poor uneducated little girl," said Texas attorney Rusty Hardin, representing the son in this six-year legal battle.
Hardin argued that J. Howard Marshall never made the promise, and accused the former Guess jeans model of turning to the courts after being left out of her husband's will. Hardin also said there was no evidence that his client prevented his father from giving Smith any share of his fortune.
Smith has attended most of the trial, and on Tuesday was dressed in a full-length, knit sweater and butterfly hair clips. She left the courtroom when Hardin began his closing arguments to take a nap in a private meeting room outside.
Her attorney, Philip W. Boesch of Los Angeles, argued that J. Howard Marshall II clearly intended to provide for Smith, whose legal name is Vicky Lynn Marshall. During the trial, Boesch played an audio tape of Marshall saying that Smith was the "light of my life" and that he wanted "my wife to be supported by me." Smith recorded the tape herself about three months before he died.
"The biggest lie in this court is that J. Howard Marshall wanted all of his wealth to go to. . .Pierce Marshall and not the person he loved most--his wife," he said.
The hearing before U.S. District Judge David O. Carter marks Smith's third legal battle over the Marshall estate, which has been valued from a few hundred million dollars to more than a $1.6 billion. Smith was 26 when she married the 89-year-old tycoon in 1994. He died in August 1995, 14 months later.
In May, Carter vacated a $475-million judgment that the former Playboy pinup had won against her husband's estate in a Los Angeles bankruptcy court last year. Carter decided that the ruling required a full review, and is allowing attorneys to present key aspects of the case.
Also in May, a probate court in Texas ruled that Smith had no claim to Marshall's estate and that his son, E. Pierce Marshall, was the sole heir of a fortune.
At the end of closing arguments, Carter encouraged the two sides to attempt to settle the case, although he acknowledged there might be only a slim chance of that happening.
Carter doesn't expect to release his opinion until the end of January, at the earliest.