Sat, Mar 14, 2009 - Page 7 News List

Boyfriend, doctors charged over Anna Nicole Smith drugs

AP , LOS ANGELES

Anna Nicole Smith’s boyfriend Howard K. Stern and two doctors have been charged with giving thousands of prescription drugs to the former Playboy Playmate in the years leading up to her fatal drug overdose in 2007.

Stern and doctors Sandeep Kapoor and Khristine Eroshevich on Thursday were each charged with three felony counts of conspiracy and several other charges of fraudulent prescriptions. Prosecutors said the doctors gave the drugs — including opiates and sedatives — to Stern, who then gave them to Smith.

The prescriptions were issued between June 2004 and January 2007, just weeks before Smith’s death.

“These individuals repeatedly and excessively furnished thousands of prescription pills to Anna Nicole Smith, often for no legitimate medical purpose,” California Attorney-General Jerry Brown said in a statement.

Brown’s spokesman, Scott Gerber, told reporters that Stern and Kapoor surrendered on Thursday night and posted US$20,000 bond, and that Eroshevich would surrender ib Monday. An arraignment date was not set.

The medical examiner’s office has said Eroshevich, a Los Angeles psychiatrist and friend of the starlet’s, authorized all the prescription medications found in the Hollywood, Florida, hotel room where the 39-year-old Smith was found unresponsive shortly before her death in Feb. 8, 2007.

Eroshevich’s attorney, Adam Braun, acknowledged his client wrote some of the prescriptions using fictitious names for Smith, but said that the intent wasn’t to commit fraud.

“It was done for privacy reasons,” Braun told reporters. “She did the best she could under difficult circumstances in the best interest of the patient.”

Braun said Eroshevich began treating Smith following the death of the playmate’s son in September 2006.

The doctor traveled on several occasions over a six-month period to the Bahamas where Smith was living with Stern and wrote the prescriptions.

The criminal complaint also alleges Kapoor wrote prescriptions for Smith under a patient alias Michelle Chase. Prosecutors allege the doctor gave her excessive amounts of sleep aids, opiates, muscle relaxants and methadone-like drugs used to treat addiction, knowing she was an addict.

Messages left with attorneys for Stern and Kapoor were not immediately returned.

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