Thursday, October 4, 2007

Another Anna Nicole Smith lawsuit, only this time an author’s going to court

Howard K. Stern wants $60 million, alleging journalist Rita Cosby and her publisher are guilty of false and defamatory accusations against Stern. Cosby’s book,Blond Ambition, says the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in a story on Tuesday, figures in the lawsuit because the book alleges Stern committed, “among other things, criminal lewd acts, homosexual acts, illegal possession and use of cocaine, conspiring to commit murder and kidnapping for ransom.” Furthermore, a John or Jane Doe also was named as a defendant. Stern has had a busy time since Smith’s death, what with trying to prove he fathered a baby he didn’t father.

There is supreme irony in this partial statement, “defendants” referring to the author and publisher: “Defendants have exploited Ms. Smith's life and death…”

Whatever the outcome, the lawsuit will continue the media circus that was Smith’s life before and after her death. I covered the aftermath of Smith’s death in The Sunshine State at my news site, Covering Florida.

I predict the legal battle will be drawn out—Rita Cosby isn’t a naïve journalist. Here’s a snapshot of her credentials, taken from her author bio at
...interview with Slobodan Milosevic while he was imprisoned at The Hague; an exclusive interview with Yasser Arafat when his compound was under siege; she was the first journalist to see the suspected terrorists held at Guantanamo and witness an actual interrogation; and a rare, private meeting with Pope John Paul II after receiving an exclusive letter from Timothy McVeigh explaining why he carried out the Oklahoma City bombing. Having interviewed more than a dozen world leaders and four US Presidents, she also made headlines for her interviews with Michael Jackson, David Berkowitz and Dr. Jack Kevorkian. She has been a featured guest on hundreds of television and radio shows worldwide and earned her two bachelors' degrees from the University of South Carolina.

If Cosby is as careful as most investigative journalists, she’s covered herself by documenting her claims.

Either way, this latest lawsuit in the publishing world will certainly be fodder for pundits, columnists and tea party-goers.

I purchased the book this morning; I’ll give you my opinion once I’ve read it.

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