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Larry Birkhead countersues former Anna Nicole Smith lawsuit attorney

UPI News Service, 06/04/2007 

California photographer Larry Birkhead countersued the lawyer suing him for payment for her work during the custody battle for Anna Nicole Smith's daughter.

In his complaint filed in Los Angles Superior Court late last week, Birkhead alleged that attorney Debra Opri presented him a project from NBC Universal for which he'd be compensated no "no less than $1,050,000," E! News reported.

Birkhead's action comes just days after Opri filed papers requesting court-ordered arbitration to enable her to collect $650,000 in legal fees she said Birkhead owes her.

He alleged that, without his consent or authorization, at least $865,000 of that amount wound up in Opri's client trust account and possibly other accounts as well. When he asked for the money, she paid him $200,000 and "wrongfully retained possession and control of the balance of the funds from the project," the suit said.

Birkhead is seeking at least $885,000 in damages for funds he said Opri received when she represented him in his custody battle for baby Dannielynn. After the two parted company in March, a Bahamas court-ordered DNA test confirmed he was the child's father.

An arbitration hearing on Opri's suit is scheduled July 9.

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Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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