Anna Nicole Smith's Boyfriend and Doctor Found Guilty of Conspiracy
By Tori Richards Posted Oct 28th 2010 05:49PM
Howard K. Stern, Smith's boyfriend and lawyer, was convicted of conspiracy for helping Smith obtain a controlled substance by fraud and for providing a false name for a prescription. Her psychiatrist, Khristine Eroshevich, was found guilty of conspiring with Stern on the fraud and false name charges, and was also convicted of unlawfully prescribing and obtaining Vicodin through fraud and use of a false name.
The verdict came after two months of testimony and nearly 12 days of deliberations. Prosecutors alleged that Stern and Eroshevich kept Smith doped up on drugs in order to stay in her inner circle and exert control over her.
Smith's medical doctor, Sandeep Kapoor -- who prescribed methadone and a variety of other drugs to Smith under the alias Michelle Chase -- was acquitted of prescribing excessive drugs and prescribing to an addict. Kapoor claimed the one-time Playboy model had issues with alcohol, but that he did not believe Smith was a drug addict.
Outside of court, a haggard-looking Stern offered a brief statement: "They found me not guilty of seven counts, these were all the counts related to whether the medications were for a legitimate medical purpose or whether Anna was an addict. Everything related to the appropriateness of the medication I was acquitted."
Eroshevich and Stern are are due back in court for sentencing on Jan. 6.
Jurors heard testimony that Smith, 39, consumed up to 1,500 pills a month, and spiraled out of control following the death of her son, Daniel. The star witness was Larry Birkhead, Smith's former boyfriend and father of her now 4-year-old daughter, Dannielynn.
Birkhead, who at one point lived with Smith, recounted how he tried to wean her off drugs and even hid her methadone so she wouldn't take it. His efforts led to a confrontation with Stern.
"I was told by Howard she needed it to live, the methadone," Birkhead testified. "She would say, 'I'm in pain. I'm not a drug addict.'"
But a telling piece of evidence was an appearance by Smith at the American Music Awards, during which she appeared to be under the influence of drugs. The video was played for jurors.
Before deliberations started, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Perry dismissed two of the charges against Stern and had some choice words for prosecutors. "I think there are weaknesses in the prosecution's case," Perry said. "But my inclination is to let it go to the jury."
Perry added that if he didn't like the verdict, he would likely change it or order a new trial.
During deliberations, jurors asked several questions. They wanted to know how Stern, who isn't a doctor, could be found guilty of illegally prescribing drugs. On Wednesday, they sent the judge a note asking for guidance if they were unable to reach a verdict on "a count or an object crime."
The judge responded by telling them, "If you can't reach a verdict, you can't reach a verdict. We declare a hung jury on that count."
Outside of court, Kapoor spoke of his ordeal.
"I was just praying and praying," he said, adding that the jury "seemed like they want(ed) to do the right thing." He called his acquittal a victory for Smith and her daughter.
The defendants were not charged with Smith's death.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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