It had long looked like Anna Nicole Smith's 7-year-old daughter, Dannielynn, would not receive any money from the estate of J. Howard Marshall, the oil tycoon Smith married 14 months before he died at age 90 in 1994. The legal battle over Marshall's estate raged for years, but ultimately Marshall's son won (before dying in 2006), and Smith never saw any inheritance. However, lawyers for Smith's estate are now arguing that due to the younger Marshall's alleged misconduct during the court battle, Smith's daughter and sole heir should receive $44 million from Marshall's estate in sanctions. A federal judge agreed Monday, the Houston Chronicle reports.
But though the judge acknowledged the younger Marshall's "bad faith" actions, he said he still has questions that must be answered before any award is granted to the child. The younger Marshall was accused of altering, destroying, and falsifying documents with his lawyer's help; committing perjury; and deliberately draining his father's bank accounts. The Chronicle notes that awards for misconduct can be awarded years after a case has been resolved. A trial date has been set for April 29.