Belfast Telegraph

Smith judge questions two charges

The judge in the Anna Nicole Smith drug conspiracy trial said he doubted prosecutors can prove key charges against two doctors and the lawyer-boyfriend of the late Playboy model.

The two counts targeted by Superior Court Judge Robert Perry are at the heart of the case, accusing the three defendants of conspiring to prescribe, administer and dispense controlled substances to an addict and obtaining and dispensing prescriptions by fraud and use of false names.

Perry raised the issue after a juror sent him a note asking for a copy of the charging document. He said he was unsure about sending the jury the entire document, indicating it might change before they were asked to reach a verdict. "I'm not sure you can make your conspiracy counts one and two from what I've heard," Perry told prosecutors. "But I am not ruling on that now."

Dr Sandeep Kapoor, Dr Khristine Eroshevich and Howard K Stern have pleaded not guilty. They are not charged with the star's overdose death in 2007.

The judge did not mention the third conspiracy count that contains many of the same allegations but covers a different time frame and does not mention Kapoor as a member of the conspiracy.

Prosecutors are nearing the end of their case in the fourth week of the trial. Once they rest the judge has the authority to dismiss any charges he thinks are not supported by evidence.

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