Jury Sends Note to Judge in Anna Nicole Smith Drug Conspiracy Trial

Wednesday, Oct 13, 2010  |  Updated 11:21 PM CDT
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Jury Sends Note to Judge in Anna Nicole Drug Conspiracy Trial

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Television personality Anna Nicole Smith walks on the red carpet during MGM's premiere of "Be Cool" at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on February 14, 2005 in Los Angeles, California.

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Jurors in the trial of Anna Nicole Smith's longtime companion and two doctors, who are accused of conspiring to funnel prescription drugs to her, sent a noteWednesday asking about the language in two of the charges.

   Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler -- who will stand in for a vacationing Judge Robert J. Perry -- is set to meet with attorneys Thursday morning to discuss the request.
  
The note from the jury stated that the language in two of the counts ``speaks only to prescribing, not furnishing, aiding or abetting,'' and asked, "How does this charge apply to Howard K. Stern?''
  
The panel also questioned whether the verdict for Stern automatically depends on the verdicts for the two physicians, Sandeep Kapoor and Khristine Eroshevich, or whether the jurors are to consider the defendants separately.
  
The six-man, six-woman jury began its deliberations Monday in the trial of Stern, 41, Kapoor, 42, and Eroshevich, 62, who are charged with multiple felonies for allegedly conspiring to furnish prescription drugs to an addict.
  
The three are not charged with Smith's Feb. 8, 2007, death from an accidental prescription overdose in Florida at age 39.
  
In her closing argument last week, Deputy District Attorney Renee Rose said the evidence presented during the nine-week trial showed ``that these defendants knew what they were doing was wrong'' and that "they knew their conduct was unlawful.''
  
Stern's attorney, Steve Sadow, countered that there was an "abundance of reasonable doubt'' in the case against his client and the doctors, and said prosecutors had trashed Smith "as an out-of-control drug addict'' and showed no regard for the chronic pain the former Playboy model suffered for years.
  
Kapoor's attorney, Ellyn Garofalo, told jurors that her client was acting in "good faith'' and had a "legitimate medical purpose'' in prescribing medications to Smith.
  
Eroshevich's attorney, Bradley Brunon, said in his closing argument that the psychiatrist reached out on an "emergency mission'' to help Smith after the former reality television star's son died and did what she could to try to help her in a time of crisis.
  
Last month, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert J. Perry granted the defense's motion to acquit Stern of fraudulently obtaining a prescription for methadone and Dilaudid and getting a prescription for the two drugs by giving a false name.
  
The judge also knocked out a portion of the allegations in one of the conspiracy charges against Stern and Kapoor, ruling the prosecution had not presented sufficient evidence that the two had conspired to obtain a controlled substance by fraud, deceit or misrepresentation or issue a prescription that was false or fictitious.
  
Nine felony charges remain against Stern, including conspiracy, unlawfully prescribing a controlled substance, obtaining a prescription for opiates by fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, obtaining a prescription for opiates by giving a false name or address and prescribing, administering or dispensing a controlled substance to an addict.
  
Kapoor and Eroshevich are each charged with six felony counts.
  
The charges against them include unlawfully prescribing a controlled substance, prescribing, administering or dispensing a controlled substance to an addict and conspiracy to commit a crime.

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