Smith's lawyer and companion, Howard K. Stern, filed a $60
million libel lawsuit Tuesday against Rita Cosby and her
publisher over a book she wrote that claims Stern and
Smith's ex-boyfriend, Larry Birkhead, had a sexual
The suit, filed
in federal court in New York, seeks $10 million in
compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages
from Cosby, the former MSNBC host who wrote Blonde
Ambition: The Untold Story Behind Anna Nicole
Smith's Death -- and Hachette Book Group USA Inc.
The book, which
hit stores in September, claims that besides the alleged
sexual encounter, Birkhead and Stern both worked together
after Smith's death to manipulate the media and
Smith died of an
accidental drug overdose in Florida in February at age
39. Stern initially claimed to have fathered Smith's young
daughter, Dannielynn, but Birkhead eventually showed
he was the father. The baby could inherit millions
from the estate of Smith's late husband, Texas oil
tycoon J. Howard Marshall II.
says that the book falsely accuses Stern of, among other
things, criminal lewd acts, homosexual acts, illegal
possession and use of cocaine, conspiring to commit
murder, and kidnapping for ransom.
exploited Ms. Smith's life and death by publishing
false and defamatory factual accusations against'' Stern,
according to the 65-page lawsuit filed by Atlanta
lawyer Lin Wood.
Ambition purports to be a 'tell-all' book, but it can
only be accurately described as a 'tell-all-lies' book,''
Wood said in statement Tuesday.
A spokesman for
Cosby declined to comment and referred calls to a
spokesman for the book's publisher. That spokesman, Evan
Boorstyn, did not immediately return a call Tuesday
Both Birkhead and
Stern, Smith's longtime attorney and companion, had
threatened to sue soon after the book was published.
An attorney for
Birkhead, M.L. Trope, told the Associated Press on
Tuesday that ''it's just a matter of time'' before his
client files a libel suit of his own. He did not say
when that would be filed.
acknowledged meeting with Cosby several times after Smith's
death in February. But he flatly denied that he and Stern
ever shared a sexual tryst.
Cosby, a former
MSNBC correspondent, claimed there is a videotape of the
alleged encounter and that one of Smith's former employees
had seen the former Playboy Playmate watching it. But
Birkhead has said no tape could exist because the
encounter did not occur.
Birkhead also has
denied the book's claim that he and Stern made a
''secret deal'' about finances and the custody of Smith's
Cosby has said
she expected backlash from Birkhead and Stern when she
started writing the book in April. (Harry Weber, AP)