Felony Convictions Dropped Against Howard K. Stern in Anna Nicole Drug Case
By PopEater / Wire Services Posted Jan 6th 2011 01:45PM
The judge decided to set aside all but one conviction against the psychiatrist, Dr. Khristine Eroshevich, who was charged with having a role in Smith's death. The lone conviction was reduced to a misdemeanor, to which she'll pay a $100 fine and serve some time on probation.
Back in October, Stern, 41, was convicted of conspiracy for helping Smith obtain a controlled substance by fraud and for providing a false name for a prescription. 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 ruling marked the denouement of a long-running drama centering on the blonde beauty's troubled life, which was documented on reality TV, in tabloids and in trial testimony. Smith also made headlines in a continuing $300 million court fight with the estate of her oil tycoon husband.
Perry had said in September that he saw weaknesses in the prosecution's case but felt he had to let the jury decide most of the charges. He said that in the past he had changed verdicts when he did not agree with them.
At that time, he dismissed two charges against Stern.
"I don't think there's evidence that a layperson knows it's illegal to write a prescription in another name for a celebrity," the judge said then, noting that Stern is not a doctor.
Jurors handed a total acquittal for Dr. Sandeep Kapoor, Smith's primary physician. But they convicted Stern and Eroshevich of conspiring to violate the false name statute to obtain pain killers for the former Playboy model. Eroshevich also was convicted of obtaining Vicodin by fraud.
Kapoor came to court Thursday for the sentencing of his former co-defendants.
"I'm here to support them. This was four years of my life, and today is finally closure," he said.
The case was launched last year amid much fanfare by then-California Attorney General and now-Gov. Jerry Brown who denounced the defendants as conspirators in over-prescribing prescription drugs to Smith, whom he called "a known addict." He accused the defendants of being lured by Hollywood glamour. After a three-week preliminary hearing and a nine-week trial, jurors essentially rejected those claims and convicted on few of the 11 charges. Witnesses said Smith was not an addict but a woman struggling with chronic pain.
This week, prosecutors advocated sentencing both defendants to five years of supervised probation, 300 hours each of community service, with Stern working for Caltrans, California's highway maintenance department. They suggested Eroshevich receive community service directed by the California Medical Board and that each defendant pay a $5,000 fine.
Their sentencing memo also asked that Eroshevich, 63, be barred from prescribing controlled substances, which would severely limit her ability to continue practicing medicine. Her lawyer argued she has already lost her reputation and much of her practice, and nothing is to be gained from further pillorying of her.
Both Eroshevich and Stern could have lost their professional licenses if their felony convictions stood.
Stern had been Smith's lawyer, manager, lover and friend since they met in 2001. His lawyer argued that Smith was the love of his life, and he would never do anything to harm her.
Eroshevich was described as a caring doctor and friend who flew to Smith's side in the Bahamas after Smith's son died of a drug overdose and she went into an emotional decline.
Smith died after suffering a drug overdose in a Florida hotel room in 2007. The death was ruled an accident, and the California defendants were not charged with causing her death.
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