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    Howard K. Stern Settles Gay-Sex Grievance With Rita Cosby

    Anna Nicole Smith, Howard K. Stern Scott Suchman / Getty Images

    Well, that's one less legal headache Howard K. Stern has to worry about.

    With a criminal trial looming on the question of whether he conspired to drug Anna Nicole Smith, the lawyer has settled a $60 million defamation suit he filed against former MSNBC anchor Rita Cosby over a tawdry tome she wrote.

    A petition for dismissal was filed on Friday, Stern attorney Steve Sadow confirms to E! News, but he would not comment further "pursuant to the terms of the settlement."

    That sound you're hearing is the husky-voiced journo clearing her throat in relief.

    Stern was seeking big bucks for several blockbuster allegations in Cosby's Blonde Ambition: The Untold Story Behind Anna Nicole Smith's Death that he insisted were outright lies.

    Cosby falsely claimed Stern engaged in sexual romps with Smith's baby daddy Larry Birkhead and also suggested the former paternity foes hatched a secret deal in which Stern agreed to support Birkhead's eventually successful bid to gain custody over Dannielynn in exchange for the celebrity photographer backing Stern to remain as executor of the late Playmate's estate.

    Earlier this year, Stern dropped similar defamation claims against former Smith bodyguard Mark Speer, whom Stern claimed was Cosby's main source. Stern is still seeking punitive damages against defendant Elizabeth "Jackie" Hatten, a sister of one of Smith's ex-beaus.

    After all, he's got his own legal bills to pay.

    —Additional reporting by Lindsay Miller

    ________

    See little Dannielynn in her own gallery, Growing Up in Anna Nicole's Shadow.

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