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Smith Skips Meeting in Paternity Dispute

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Anna Nicole Smith didn’t appear Monday for a meeting in the Bahamas requested by the lawyer for an ex-boyfriend who claims he is the father of her 6-week-old daughter.

Photographer Larry Birkhead has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles seeking a court order to demand Smith bring the baby to California for a paternity test. Her attorneys have argued the court does not have appropriate jurisdiction.

Debra Opri, a lawyer for Birkhead who traveled from Los Angeles to take a deposition from Smith in the Bahamas, said she would use Smith’s nonappearance Monday to argue for dismissal of that challenge.

“We’re letting her know if she wants to make it this way, we’re not going to make it easy for her,” Opri said in a phone interview from Nassau.

Smith, 38, a reality TV star and former Playboy playmate, moved to the Bahamas while pregnant with Dannielynn Hope Marshall Stern, who was born Sept. 7. Smith has said that her companion, lawyer Howard K. Stern, is the baby’s father.

A Bahamian attorney for Smith said he believed Opri needs to work through local courts to demand a test from his client, who has obtained permanent residency in the islands.

“If anyone is to be inconvenienced, let him be inconvenienced and bring this action here,” Wayne Munroe said of Birkhead.

Munroe said Smith stood by her decision not to voluntarily submit her daughter for testing.

In a statement Monday to syndicated TV show “Extra,” Stern said the meeting to take depositions was “nothing more than a publicity stunt.”

A hearing is scheduled Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court. If Birkhead is confirmed to be the father, he could receive visitation or custody rights and possibly a large amount of child support.

Smith’s 20-year-old son Daniel died while visiting his mother in a Nassau hospital after the baby was born.

A private examiner has said Daniel Smith died from a lethal combination of methadone and two antidepressants, and local officials were expected to announce this week whether they would call a jury inquest into the death.

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