In the end, the jury sided with Hardin, believing the young bride had broken the old man's heart with excessive spending and neglect.
"Once she married him, then she figured she was going to get half of whatever he had, so she wasn't even decent to him," one juror said.
The verdict meant Smith would get nothing.
But those who thought her legal ride was over were sorely mistaken. Smith petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court, which agreed to hear her case.
Smith has gone from Playboy Playmate to Supreme Court litigant.
The decision shocked Hardin, who said Smith leads a "charmed existence."
"It's a fascinating thing," he said. "I mean the whole visual of Anna Nicole showing up before the Supreme Court."
The issue before the court is narrow, focusing on whether the federal or state court was supposed to hear the case.
But what the case has always turned on was a question about the true nature of this marriage. Did Marshall really want to take care of Smith forever?
But could one piece of potential evidence -- never shown to the Texas jurors -- help answer that question?
In a home video of Christmas morning, 1992, 18 months before the couple married, it appears Smith was trying to get Marshall to say something on the record.
"Say it just like you did last night," she said on the tape.
Marshall responded: "I, Howard Marshall, being of disposing mind, express this my last will and testament to Vicky Nicole … shall receive a house -- which she calls the ranch -- and the townhouse and her Mercedes automobile and everything else that I have ever given her to be hers now and forever. I love you."
What is perhaps most striking about the video is what Marshall didn't say -- that she would get any part of his estate, let alone half.
"He's talking there about things he gave her," said Hardin. "He's talking about things that he gave her during his life that no one has ever tried to take away from her."
But Smith's lawyer, Phillip Boesch says that the tape means nothing.
"What I make of this, is that you have a husband and wife having some fun and they are on video," he said. "Howard is not doing business here ..." Boesch says that far more revealing is something else Marshall did in December 1992. He instructed his lawyers to prepare a "catch all" trust for Smith -- that would give her 50 percent of the wealth created during their marriage.
Pierce Marshall's attorneys say Marshall quickly scrapped any plans for cutting Smith in on his estate.
Despite all the jokes about Marshall letting himself be an easy mark for a woman 60 years his junior, perhaps she was the one who was being taken advantage of.