Anna Nicole Taking Tragedy To Bank?

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 31: Model Anna Nicole Smith, and her son Daniel Smith arrive at G-Phoria - The Award Show 4 Gamers held on July 31, 2004 at the Shrine Auditorium, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images) Getty Images/Frazer Harrison

Two autopsies have failed to settle on a cause of death for Anna Nicole Smith's son who died in a room in a Bahamas hospital over a week ago. Smith is still in mourning but that hasn't stopped her from making an almost unbelievable business deal.

The model is apparently taking tragedy to the bank, selling photos of her son, Daniel, to syndicated TV shows and In Touch magazine for a reported $600,000.

"When we heard that the photos were available, my immediate reaction was we have to get them," In Touch news editor Linda Massarella told The Early Show national correspondent Hattie Kauffman. "I want to see that. Everybody is going to want to see that."

The photos show the 20-year-old with his mom and her new baby daughter in the Bahamas hospital room just hours before Daniel suddenly died. According to USA Today, the celebrity magazine's executive editor, Dan Wakeford, says he was involved in securing the photos from Getty Images, which declined to identify the photographer.

"It's a loving photo (taken) just after she gave birth, with Daniel. It's the family snapshot, it's the last family snapshot," Massarella says.

Smith is a former playboy model who shot to fame when she married an 89-year old oil tycoon. Some called her a gold-digger when she sued for his fortune after his death less than a year later. Now, with the sale of her son's photos, Web sites are buzzing about what could be deemed exploitation.

The sale is raising eyebrows because it's not just photos of the new baby — reportedly named Hannah — or a wedding. It's a photo of her son hours before he died, while questions are still looming about his death. USA Today reports that "Entertainment Tonight" and "The Insider" purchased the TV rights to the photos for an undisclosed sum.

"It's an historic photograph for Anna Nicole Smith, who is an icon," says Massarella.

David Granoff, a former publicist for Anna Nicole Smith, says, "These photos should be seen. It's one of their happiest moments together and, I mean, she's not going to give them away. That's not the way the world works. What is she going to do, donate them?"

Daniel often appeared in his mom's reality show, "The Anna Nicole Show." He was the product of Anna Nicole and ex-husband Bill Smith, who married in 1985 and divorced two years later.

The identity of the father of her newborn daughter has not been publicly released. A man claiming to be the father of the child has spoken out to TV's "The Insider." In an interview that aired Monday evening, celebrity photographer Larry Birkhead said he was involved in the pregnancy. "As far as I'm concerned, I am the father," said Birkhead, who says he met Anna Nicole when he was assigned to photograph her at the Kentucky Derby. He said their relationship ended shortly after she became pregnant.

Daniel's death is still a mystery. Two autopsies ruled out suicide and foul play. Anna Nicole's family pathologist, Cyril Wecht, learned that Daniel was taking anti-depressants at the time of his death from a psychiatrist who treated the 20-year-old. Wecht was told the dosage of the antidepressant medication was "quite low" and that the bout with depression "had to do with a girlfriend."

In Touch magazine suggests he may have had a heart problem. "Eight weeks before he died, he was admitted to a hospital in L.A. for about three or four days complaining of chest pains and high blood pressure," Massarella says.

While the investigation into Daniel's death continues, so does the debate over the sale of the photos. "The public has always been out to get Anna Nicole Smith. So this is just another reason to go after her," says Granoff.

Anna Nicole may need the money from the photos now but if she wins her late billionaire husband's inheritance, $600,000 would seem like a drop in the bucket.

Blood tests on her son are still being analyzed and may not be released until a formal jury investigation is scheduled to begin Oct. 23.

For now, Anna Nicole remains secluded in the Bahamas as the investigation continues. She awaits the final toxicology report and is not prepared to speak with the media, according to her attorney, Michael Scott. "She is depressed and she's at home, and remember that she's got a new child that she's looking after," Scott said.
  • Amy Bonawitz

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