- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 11, 2007

12:17 p.m.

NASSAU, Bahamas — Larry Birkhead, the biological father of Anna Nicole Smith’s baby, said today, a day after DNA tests proved that he is the father, that there is no need to share legal custody of the child.

A hearing is scheduled for Friday at which a judge is expected to discuss who will raise 7-month-old Dannielynn. Howard K. Stern, who has been caring for the baby since Mrs. Smith’s sudden death in February, said yesterday that he wouldn’t fight for custody, but a lawyer for Mrs. Smith’s mother, Virgie Arthur, indicated she might.

Mr. Birkhead said today he did not want another legal fight.

“We might go from one fight to another, but I’m hoping that’s not the case because, you know, there’s only one dad, and I have no problem with anyone that has good intentions being allowed to visit the baby and see the baby and be a part of the baby’s life,” he told NBC’s “Today” show from the Bahamas.

Mr. Birkhead said, however, he has no intentions of sharing custody.

“It would imply that I’m unfit as a parent, which I’m not,” the Los Angeles photographer said. “I’m looking forward to giving Dannielynn everything that she needs and all the love and support.”

Mr. Stern said yesterday that he loved the baby despite the DNA results and would support Mr. Birkhead.

“I’m obviously very disappointed, but my feelings for Dannielynn have not changed,” he said, adding of Mr. Birkhead: “I’m going to do whatever I can to make sure he gets sole custody.”

Separately, a hearing was scheduled today in the Bahamian Coroner’s Court to check the status of an appeal filed by Mr. Stern that stalled the inquest into the death of Mrs. Smith’s 20-year-old son, Daniel.

Mr. Birkhead, who broke up with Mrs. Smith before she moved to the Bahamas in July, had been seeking custody of the girl for months. Mr. Stern is listed on the birth certificate as Dannielynn’s father and has been taking care of the child at the gated oceanfront mansion he and Mrs. Smith shared in the Bahamas.

Dannielynn Hope Marshall Stern stands to inherit a fortune if the legal battles her mother left her ever get resolved.

The baby potentially could inherit millions from the estate of Mrs. Smith’s late husband, J. Howard Marshall II. The former model had been fighting the Texas oil tycoon’s family over his estimated $500 million fortune since his death in 1995, and that battle remains unresolved.

It remains unclear how much, if any, of the Marshall estate Dannielynn could ever hope to obtain and whether her guardian would have any access to the money.

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