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Von Anhalt sues O'Reilly over `fraud' comments

March 16, 2007|Charles Proctor | Times Staff Writer

Prince Frederic von Anhalt sued the Fox Network and Bill O'Reilly after the popular talk show host called Von Anhalt a "fraud" for saying he could be the father of Anna Nicole Smith's baby.

Von Anhalt, the husband of actress Zsa Zsa Gabor and one of three men to file a paternity claim for Smith's 6-month-old daughter, filed the defamation lawsuit against Fox and O'Reilly on Wednesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court. He is seeking $10 million in damages.

O'Reilly, host of "The O'Reilly Factor," challenged Von Anhalt to take a lie detector test after he filed the paternity claim in mid-February. Von Anhalt initially accepted but later changed his mind when he learned how long the test would take, said Edward Lee, his attorney.

According to a transcript of the Feb. 23 show, O'Reilly called Von Anhalt a "fraud" and a "nut," though he added: "I say nut in an affectionate way."

"Look, this guy's a fraud," O'Reilly said on the show. "We know he's a fraud."

Von Anhalt feels the show crippled his credibility in the community, Lee said.

"He's really embarrassed," Lee said. "He's been getting a ton of phone calls, a ton of e-mails, from people looking down on him."

A spokeswoman for Fox News said the network hadn't received the lawsuit and could not comment on it.

Von Anhalt claimed to have had a 10-year relationship with Smith, a former Playboy playmate who died Feb. 8 in Florida at age 39. Howard K. Stern and Larry Birkhead also have filed paternity claims for Dannielynn Hope Marshall Stern.

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charles.proctor@latimes.com

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