A judge has ordered a Texas doctor and his wife not to distribute video footage of Anna Nicole Smith’s breast augmentation surgery in 1994.
The order settles a lawsuit filed last year by Howard Stern, the executor of Smith’s estate, who was trying to stop Dr Gerald Johnson and his wife from distributing the tapes of the former Playboy Playmate and reality TV star who died last year.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff issued preliminary injunctions against the Johnsons more than a year ago before issuing his final decision.
Mr Stern maintained that Smith never consented to the taping or to allowing the footage to be seen by Los Angeles memorabilia dealer Thomas Riccio, who got tapes from the Johnsons, according to court records.
Johnson has said he routinely records surgeries with the patient’s permission and promises to keep the video confidential “during the patient’s lifetime”.
He said he gave Mr Riccio permission to use the video after Smith, 39, died of a drug overdose in February 2007 in Florida. Mr Riccio’s daughter edited the footage into a five-minute tape, scored with music similar to the theme from the film 'Jaws'.
The Johnsons’ lawyer, Gus Pappas, did not return a message seeking comment.
Larry Birkhead, who fathered Smith’s daughter, called the video “truly disgusting” in a sworn declaration issued last year.
“It was clear that Anna Nicole was unconscious during the videotaping, and even more disturbing, the videotape focused on areas of her nude body that were unrelated to the location of the surgery,” he said in the declaration.
Mr Stern’s lawyer, Vivian Thoreen, said all the tapes had been accounted for under the judge’s previous orders. She said the other terms of the settlement were confidential.
Although the Johnsons live in Texas, the Los Angeles Superior Court still has jurisdiction because the physician allegedly tried to disseminate the tape in Los Angeles County, said lawyer Bruce Ross, who also represents Mr Stern.