Former Bahamian Immigration Minister suing media

NASSAU, The Bahamas, February 26, 2007 – Former Minister of Immigration Shane Gibson has reportedly retained a Florida-based attorney to clear his name in the Anna Nicole Smith controversy.

The Bahamas Journal is this morning reporting that Gibson has retained the services of the top multi-millionaire US attorney Willie Gary who  apparently hold one of the highest jury verdicts in American history – US$500 million.

The Bahama Journal has reported that Gary is preparing a lawsuit against an international media house for what “scandalous and libelous remarks”.

“According to a well-placed source, plans are also underway to sue Callenders and Co attorneys Michael Scott and Tracey Ferguson as well as The Tribune newspaper. The news daily recently published photographs of Mr. Gibson and Ms. Smith on a bed in warm embraces – both fully clothed. The former cabinet minister has insisted the photographs were innocent, adding that photos were also taken of the former playboy playmate and his family. The published photographs, however, resulted in international headlines suggesting that Ms. Smith used sex to obtain permanent residency in The Bahamas,” the Journal reported in its morning edition.

Allegations are that Gibson favourably fast-tracked Anna Nicole’s immigration application for a resident’s permit and in the process a proper investigation was not carried which critics said would have shown that she was not eligible for residency as she used false information on her application – specifically that she owned a £500,000 mansion in The Bahamas. An American real estate developer, Ben Thomas, said subsequently that the house was his.

Gibson resigned a week ago, insisting that he never abused his ministerial power.

In a televised statement he said that “First of all this is the political season and I guess somebody was being mischievous and was trying to create an impression that did not exist,” he said referring to imminent general elections. “I didn’t have an individual relationship with her, it was a family relationship,” he insisted saying that he and his family were there at the time and that, Anna Nicole’s long time partner Howard Stern took the photos of the get together. He said it was nothing out of the norm to fast track applications and at any rate the final decision was not his.

Smith’s son Wayne Daniel died in a Bahamas hospital room last September while visiting his mother who had given birth to Danielynn. Smith was found dead in a Florida hotel room on February 8 this year.