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Stern sues Anna Nicole Smith's mother's lawyer

Story Highlights

• Smith's boyfriend says Virgie Arthur's attorney defamed him
• John O'Quinn said that Stern murdered Smith, lawyer says
• Judge tells Arthur, Larry Birkhead to devise baby-visitation plan
• Stern says Birkhead "doing a great job" with baby Dannielynn
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(CNN) -- Howard K. Stern, Anna Nicole Smith's attorney and partner, filed a defamation lawsuit Friday against the lawyer for Smith's mother.

The suit, filed in federal court in West Palm Beach, Florida, alleges John O'Quinn, attorney for Virgie Arthur, defamed Stern in statements made on television after the actress' death in February.

"The lawsuit focuses on Mr. O'Quinn's recent appearances on a number of national television shows in which he has made public accusations of murder and other misconduct against Mr. Stern in connection with the Anna Nicole Smith case," according to a statement released by Stern attorney L. Lin Wood of Atlanta, Georgia.

Wood specifically cited a February 21, 2007, interview from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for the Fox News show "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren."

"As stated in the complaint filed today, Mr. O'Quinn's accusations against Mr. Stern are false and Mr. Stern seeks to hold him accountable through the civil justice system."

O'Quinn could not be reached for comment Friday.

In the Bahamas on Friday, attorneys in the custody case surrounding Smith's 7-month-old daughter said the judge wants Larry Birkhead -- declared Tuesday to be the child's father -- and Arthur to come up with a plan regarding access to the child.

The two were supposed to meet Thursday but did not. The judge told the parties to get together and appear in court next Friday.

O'Quinn told CNN's "Larry King Live" earlier this week that Arthur would not seek any sort of guardianship for baby Dannielynn after Birkhead's paternity was revealed.

After the custody hearing, Stern said Birkhead has been visiting Dannielynn at Stern's home, where she has been staying since Smith's death.

"At least informally, the transition period has already begun," Stern said. "Larry spent the majority of the last days over at the house getting to know Dannielynn. He's been changing diapers, he's been feeding her, he's been playing with her, and if you ask me, he's been doing a great job."

Stern, who is listed as the girl's father on her birth certificate, initially was battling Birkhead in court over paternity until DNA results proved the child was fathered by Birkhead.

A hearing regarding the formal transfer of custody is scheduled for next Friday.

"If it were up to me, the formal order in terms of giving Larry full custody would have occurred today, but unfortunately it didn't," Stern said.

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L. Lin Wood, who represented high-profile clients such as John and Patsy Ramsey, is suing on behalf of Howard K. Stern.




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