Anna Nicole Smith, explaining how she could be so broke that her electricity was cut off just a month after receiving a six-figure Christmas gift from her multimillionaire husband, told jurors Tuesday "$100,000 was not a lot of money to me."
"That's just how we lived," Smith said during her fifth day of testimony in the trial over late husband J. Howard Marshall II's oil fortune. "That's how he had me live. That was his lifestyle."
Smith said she spent the Christmas money on gifts and bills in December 1994. She testified the amount would have been larger if not for stepson E. Pierce Marshall, who had assumed control of his father's affairs.
"He (Howard Marshall II) told me Pierce only gave him $100,000 (to give) for Christmas," Smith said.
The next month January 1995 Pierce Marshall informed Smith the family company no longer would pay her extravagant bills. Smith said in media interviews at the time she was unable to keep her lights on because of her stepson.
However, an attorney for Pierce Marshall showed Smith her own bank statements from that time showing more than $45,000 in one of several bank accounts she maintained in three cities.
"In this one checking account alone you had more than $45,000," lawyer Rusty Hardin said.
Smith answered: "Why would the utilities be turned off if I had money to pay it?" She added that she wasn't in control of her finances, "other people were."
Hardin, a well-known Houston attorney who sparred with Smith when she initially took the stand two weeks ago, resumed cross-examination after her own attorney questioned her Tuesday morning.
The former stripper and Playboy Playmate told her lawyer, Tom Cunningham, she was so ostracized from her husband's family that she wasn't told that doctors were giving Howard Marshall II only a few months to live in May 1995.
Their 14-month marriage ended Aug. 4, 1995, upon his death of age-related causes at 90. She was 27 at the time.
Smith blamed Pierce Marshall for her husband's death, saying that her husband somehow "would be here today" if she hadn't been limited to 30-minute visits with Howard Marshall II in his final months.
"Everyone (in the family) hated me and no one gave me a chance," Smith said, often weeping when talking about her husband.
Smith, now 33, along with 63-year-old disinherited stepson J. Howard Marshall III, sued named heir E. Pierce Marshall over the estate. Smith dropped her Texas claim after a California bankruptcy judge awarded her $475 million in a separate case.
Pierce Marshall, 61, is appealing that decision. His counter-suit against Smith, along with the ongoing inheritance trial between the brothers, remains at issue in the 4 1/2-month trial here.
©MMI The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed
© 2001 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.