Defense presents video in which Anna Nicole Smith denies drug use at awards showBy Linda Deutsch, AP
Monday, August 23, 2010
Video shows Smith denying drug use at awards show
LOS ANGELES — Jurors in the Anna Nicole Smith drug trial were shown a video Monday in which the former model denies being on drugs during a performance on a TV awards show in 2004.
Defense attorney Steve Sadow presented the video during a surprisingly brief cross-examination of Larry Birkhead, the father of Smith’s daughter.
Birkhead made the video with Smith four days after the American Music Awards show in which her slurred speech raised questions about whether she was under the influence.
“People thought I was drunk, on drugs, losing it,” Smith said on the video that Birkhead said was broadcast on TV. “I’m not losing it, America. I’m fine, happy.”
It was the jury’s most extensive look at the demeanor of Smith and the first time her voice was heard in the drug conspiracy case denying she was on drugs.
The prosecution last week played the AMA footage in an effort to show she was impaired by taking too many prescription drugs. Birkhead suggested Smith had just been projecting her public personality on the show.
The judge stressed that jurors should evaluate the video shown Monday only in relation to Smith’s mannerisms, not what she said.
Smith appeared bright-eyed and her speech was not slurred. She was carefully coifed and made up, projecting her signature, glamorous image, and held a small white dog on her lap.
“When I go out on stage, I always work it. I work the crowds,” she said, explaining the AMA performance that Birkhead had described as “loopy.”
She said she had been up sick the night before and was nervous. All her remarks were scripted, and other than the one line she couldn’t see on the teleprompter, she followed the script, she said.
Birkhead previously testified about his concerns that Smith was taking too many prescription medications on a regular basis.
The night before the awards show, he said, she suffered a seizure and was almost too sick to go on. He said he urged her to cancel, but she insisted on going forward. He said he didn’t see her take any drugs that night.
Smith said on the video shot by Birkhead that she was shocked when the calls began coming after the AMA show asking if she was under the influence during the performance.
Among those who eventually called, according to testimony, was her doctor, Sandeep Kapoor, who was worried she might have been taking too many prescription drugs.
Smith’s lawyer-boyfriend Howard K. Stern, who is represented by Sadow, Kapoor and Dr. Khristine Eroshevich have pleaded not guilty to conspiring to provide Smith with massive doses of opiates and sedatives. They are not accused of causing her 2007 overdose death.
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