Archive for Thursday, August 15, 2002

Anna Nicole’s ex-boyfriend pleads innocent to stalking

August 15, 2002

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— An ex-boyfriend of Anna Nicole Smith pleaded innocent Wednesday to charges that he called her repeatedly after she broke up with him and assaulted her neighbor.

Mark Hatten, 34, appeared in Los Angeles County Superior Court in Van Nuys on charges of battery, assault with a deadly weapon, terrorist threats and stalking.

Attorney Peter Knecht said outside court that his client was living in Arizona at the time and was in Los Angeles visiting relatives when he went to see Smith.

"He came to her house with flowers and a friend," Knecht said.

The 34-year-old former Playboy playmate was not in court for the arraignment.

Smith became a reality TV star this month when "The Anna Nicole Show," which documents her daily life, premiered on E! Entertainment Television.

In March, she won an $88 million judgment over the estate of her husband, J. Howard Marshall, who died in 1995 at age 90. Marshall's son, E. Pierce Marshall, is appealing the award.

During a preliminary hearing last month, Smith testified that her brief relationship with Hatten ended in June 2000 after he approached her with a knife in her home. She never reported the incident to police.

Smith claimed Hatten called repeatedly, and earlier this year said he was coming over with a gun. Neighbor Rene Navarro went to Smith's house to persuade Hatten to leave, and allegedly was punched and kicked by the defendant.

Knecht said Smith had a sporadic, two-year relationship with Hatten and believes Smith brought charges against his client to "silence him."

An Aug. 23 pretrial hearing was set. If convicted, Hatten could face up to eight years in prison.

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