The Anna Nicole Smith story

Anna Nicole Smiths death may have sold lots of newspapers and magazines, and are what movies are made of, but her personal diaries refused to sell at auction. Her two personal diaries that most would think were worth big bucks, in Texas on Saturday. The journals, written in the early ’90s, initially had at least two bidders before Smith’s former partner, Howard K. Stern claimed they were stolen and should be returned to her estate. "Make no mistake: these items were stolen from Ms. Smith by one or more thieves," attorney, L. Lin Wood, wrote in a letter to Doug Norwine, the director of music and entertainment memorabilia at Heritage Auction Galleries of Dallas on Wednesday, reported. "Ms. Smith's Estate intends to vigorously pursue the return of the diaries, will take whatever means necessary to secure their return, and will hold to account those persons and entities that have profited through their reprehensible acts at the expense of the Estate." "On behalf of the estate, Mr. Stern hereby requests that the diaries be returned to him immediately," the letter added. TMZ also reported that the man claiming to be original owner of the diaries, denied Wood’s claims, saying that "the facts he mentions in the letter are FALSE -- these diaries are NOT stolen, (They were obtained BEFORE her death) -- he is just trying to steal more money in the name of Anna Nicole." The auction house said yesterday the journals, which contain entries about Smith’s weight problems and issues regarding her personal life, are now available for a minimum bid of $25,000 each. “We have a buy-it-now situation,” said Norwine but added the bidders just “got cold feet” following Stern’s public claim. The auction house reportedly got the journals among other items from an anonymous German businessman who purchased the items on eBay for more than $500,000 several weeks ago. The German businessman decided to auction the diaries after securing the publishing rights, Norwine said. The two personal diaries were supposedly written between 1992 and 1994 and provide details regarding Smith’s feelings for her late husband, oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II. Along with the journals, the auction house also obtained a $16,954.66 receipt from a Bloomingdale's shopping spree in 1992, a signed bank check from Smith and her 1994 Texas photo ID card. "In the absence of a judge stopping this auction, this auction will go forward," Norwine was quoted by CBS as saying. "After the auction we'll determine what happens. We will continue to take the high road.”
Question : If Larry Birkhead is the father and in charge of the estate, how can Howard K. Stern demand them back ?