Anna Nicole Smith drug conspiracy case charging lawyer-boyfriend, 2 doctors, goes to jury

By Linda Deutsch, AP
Friday, October 8, 2010

Anna Nicole Smith drug case goes to jury

LOS ANGELES — The Anna Nicole Smith drug conspiracy case, charging her lawyer-boyfriend and two doctors with providing the former Playboy model with excessive amounts of drugs, in the hands of a jury.

After nine weeks of testimony and arguments, the last word to jurors Friday came from the prosecutor who implored them to convict the defendants on all counts. Earlier in the day, they heard from a defense lawyer who said the three defendants had not broken the law.

Jurors were told to select a foreperson, then were to be sent home until Tuesday when they will begin deliberations. Monday is a court holiday.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Anna Nicole Smith’s lawyer-boyfriend trusted the two doctors on trial with him to ease the suffering of the woman he loved with prescription drugs, his attorney told jurors Friday in closing arguments.

Howard K. Stern wasn’t qualified to second-guess the doctors’ medical judgment, attorney Steve Sadow said. The doctors, Sandeep Kapoor and Khristine Eroshevich, acted in good faith prescribing medications for Smith’s physical and emotional pain after the birth of her daughter and death of her son, Sadow said.

Stern and the two doctors have pleaded not guilty to conspiring to give the model excessive opiates and sedatives to feed an addiction. They are not charged in her 2007 overdose death.

Stern is charged as an aider and abettor to the doctors’ actions. Sadow said that to be convicted, “Howard has to know when a prescription is written that the doctor intended to break the law.”

He said there has been no testimony to support that claim.

Sadow, who began his argument Thursday by speaking of Smith as the great love of Stern’s life, referred to their closeness again. And he suggested Smith was loved by others, including Eroshevich, her friend and psychiatrist who flew to the Bahamas to treat her after the calamitous week in which her daughter, Dannielynn was born, and her grown son, Daniel, collapsed and died in her hospital room.

“Do you really think she gave up everything and went to the Bahamas to feed Anna’s addiction, to help her get high?” asked Sadow. “It doesn’t jibe with reality. It doesn’t jibe with the law.”

He attacked the credibility of prosecution witnesses, including a bodyguard who was paid $50,000 from TV shows for his story after Smith died. Sadow said Maurice Brighthaupt testimony was filled with contradictions.

Sadow also derided the prosecution’s decision to spend $41,000 to bring two nannies and their families to Los Angeles in order for them to testify “because that is their best evidence of Howard being a bad man.”

He told jurors he could spend six hours talking about the nannies’ credibility problems on the witness stand, but said he would spare them because they had heard it. The jurors laughed.

Sadow stressed that he was speaking for Stern but in denying that his client was part of a conspiracy he advocated for all three defendants. Their lawyers spoke earlier.

Prosecutors were to respond with rebuttal arguments before the case goes to the jury. Superior court Judge Robert Perry said it would most likely be placed in their hands Tuesday after a one-day court holiday.

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