LOS ANGELES (AP) - Anna Nicole Smith's boyfriend Howard K. Stern
and two doctors were charged Thursday with giving thousands of
prescription drugs to the former Playboy playmate in the years
leading up to her 2007 fatal overdose.
Stern and doctors Sandeep Kapoor and Khristine Eroshevich were
each charged with three felony counts of conspiracy. Prosecutors
said the doctors gave the drugs - including opiates and
benzodiazapines - to Stern, who then gave them to Smith over three
"These individuals repeatedly and excessively furnished
thousands of prescription pills to Anna Nicole Smith, often for no
legitimate medical purpose," California Attorney General Edmund G.
Brown said in a statement.
A spokesman for Brown told The Associated Press that two of the
three had been arrested but would not specify which ones.
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, Fla., hotel room
where the 39-year-old Smith was found unresponsive shortly before
her death in February 2007. Eroshevich had traveled with Smith to
Eroshevich's attorney, Adam Braun, acknowledged his client wrote
some of the prescriptions using fictitious names for Smith but that
the intent wasn't to commit fraud.
"It was not to deceive anyone. It was done for privacy
reasons," Braun told the AP. "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.
Messages left with the other defendants' attorneys were not
Brown said Eroshevich and Kapoor "violated their ethical
obligations as physicians, while Mr. Stern funneled highly
addictive drugs to Ms. Smith."
The three defendants also were charged with a combined eight
other felonies, including obtaining fraudulent prescriptions and
unlawfully prescribing a controlled substance between June 2004 and
Eleven prescription medications were found in Smith's hotel room
the day she died, according to the medical examiner's office. More
than 600 pills - including about 450 muscle relaxants - were
missing from prescriptions that were no more than five weeks old
when she died. Most of the drugs were prescribed in the name of
Stern, her lawyer-turned-companion, and none was prescribed in
Smith's own name.
Several agencies participated in the investigation, including
the attorney general's office, the federal Drug Enforcement
Administration, the state Medical Board and the state Department of
Associated Press writer Greg Risling contributed to this report.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)