- The Washington Times - Monday, February 26, 2007

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A Florida appeals court issued a stay yesterday in the dispute over Anna Nicole Smith’s body, ruling that her remains cannot be moved to the Bahamas until the judges hear a challenge from the model’s estranged mother.

The Florida 4th District Court of Appeal agreed to hear Virgie Arthur’s request to overturn a trial judge’s decision giving control of Mrs. Smith’s body to the attorney for the former Playboy Playmate’s infant daughter. That attorney decided she should be buried next to her son in the Bahamas.

Mrs. Arthur wants to bury her daughter in her native Texas.

The court gave other attorneys in the case until 2 p.m. today to respond to the challenge.

Earlier yesterday, Judge Larry Seidlin rejected Mrs. Arthur’s request to reconsider last week’s ruling, saying he wanted to preserve Mrs. Smith’s dignity by having the funeral as soon as possible. Judge Seidlin declined to speak to reporters.

Mrs. Smith died in a Florida hotel Feb. 8 at 39. A medical examiner has yet to determine her cause of death.

Mrs. Arthur’s lawyer, Roberta G. Mandel, wrote in the appeal that Judge Seidlin’s ruling was an inconvenience because the mother would need a passport and airline tickets to visit Mrs. Smith’s grave.

Outside court, Miss Mandel said Mrs. Arthur was willing to take the fight to the state Supreme Court.

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