First of 3 defense lawyers in Anna Nicole Smith drug case ends closing argument

By Linda Deutsch, AP
Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Defense lawyer ends argument in Smith drug case

LOS ANGELES — One of Anna Nicole Smith’s doctors prescribed drugs to help the model cope with the death of her son and shouldn’t be convicted of conspiring to feed her addiction, a defense attorney argued Wednesday.

Dr. Khristine Eroshevich was responding to a cry for help by prescribing anti-anxiety drugs to the former Playboy model, attorney Brad Brunon told jurors in his closing argument.

Eroshevich, Dr. Sandeep Kapoor and Smith’s lawyer-boyfriend Howard K. Stern have pleaded not guilty to conspiring to provide excessive prescription drugs to an addict and other charges. They are not charged in Smith’s 2007 accidental overdose death.

Lawyers for Kapoor and Stern were set to deliver their closing arguments after Brunon.

The drug conspiracy case, now in its ninth week, is expected to go to the jury by week’s end after a rebuttal by prosecutors.

During his closing argument, Brunon reminded jurors that Smith’s son died of a drug overdose in her hospital room just a day after she gave birth to her daughter. He said she was inconsolable and Eroshevich, a psychiatrist, was trying to help her.

As long as Eroshevich had a good faith belief she was writing lawful prescriptions, she should not be convicted, Brunon said.

On Tuesday, Deputy District Attorney Renee Rose concluded some eight hours of prosecution arguments by accusing the defendants of supplying Smith with powerful painkillers despite clear signs of her addiction because they wanted to enhance their relationships with Smith and her celebrity world.

Trial witnesses have said Smith suffered from chronic pain syndrome, seizures, migraines, spinal pain and fractured ribs, among other illnesses.

She experienced physical and emotional pain after the birth of her daughter, Dannielynn, and the death of her 20-year-old son Daniel in 2006.

Superior Court Judge Robert Perry has told jurors that someone who seeks medication primarily for pain relief is not an addict.

Brunon took that tack when he began his closing argument on Tuesday.

“Is there a charge that Dr. Eroshevich committed a crime because she prescribed to a friend? No. It’s not a crime,” he told jurors.

Rose showed jurors pictures they had already seen of Smith and Eroshevich naked in a bathtub, and said it proved the doctor had lost her objectivity in prescribing for Smith, who was her neighbor and friend.

The photos were part of an elaborate prosecution digital slideshow.

Brunon said no defendant could match the resources of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office and reminded jurors of the costs of the case, with $100,000 paid to experts and $40,000 spent to bring two witnesses from the Bahamas.

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