Anna Nicole's ex wins court victory
A judge has dismissed the drug conspiracy convictions of the late Anna Nicole Smith's boyfriend-lawyer Howard Stern and her psychiatrist, allowing only one conviction to remain against the physician.
Superior Court Judge Robert Perry found that Stern never intended to defraud when he used his name and others to protect the former Playboy pin-up's privacy when he obtained prescriptions for her.
The judge also found that psychiatrist Khristine Eroshevich was acting out of concern for Smith and cited her long career and service to the community in deciding to sentence her to no more than one year of probation and a 100 dollar fine for obtaining one Vicodin prescription under a false name.
"The evidence is that Howard Stern did not have an intent to break the law," Judge Perry said in dismissing conspiracy convictions against Stern.
Without Stern's participation, the judge said, there was no conspiracy between him and Eroshevich, and he dismissed those counts against her as well.
Judge Perry said he considered the jury verdicts "a strong repudiation of the prosecution's case," which he described as overly complicated and not supported by sufficient evidence. "There is no doubt that there are doctors who are nothing more than pill-pushers and should be prosecuted and imprisoned," he said. "This case did not involve such doctors."
District Attorney Steve Cooley said he would appeal against the ruling.
Both Stern and Eroshevich said they were pleased with today's ruling and believed Smith would be happy with the outcome.
Smith died on February 8, 2007 in a Hollywood hotel room due to an overdose of prescription drugs. Stern, 41, said he was thinking of his lost love when the judge announced his decision.
"I was looking up in the sky and thinking, she's vindicated," Stern said. He said he was pleased that Perry recognised Smith was a victim of chronic pain, not addiction. "This case never should have been brought," Stern said outside court. "It has been four years of my life."