Anna Nicole Smith's lawyer-turned-boyfriend and a doctor surrendered to face charges that they conspired to provide the Playboy Playmate with thousands of prescription pills before her 2007 fatal overdose. A second doctor also is accused.
Howard K. Stern and Dr. Sandeep Kapoor were released late Thursday after posting $20,000 bond. Charges include conspiracy, unlawfully prescribing a controlled substance and prescribing, administering or dispensing a controlled substance to an addict, authorities said.
Dr. Khristine Eroshevich was expected to surrender Monday. Her attorney, Adam Braun, acknowledged Eroshevich wrote some of the prescriptions using fictitious names for Smith, but it wasn't intended to commit fraud.
"It was done for privacy reasons," Braun told The Associated Press. "She did the best she could under difficult circumstances in the best interest of the patient."
Prosecutors see it differently.
"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 Thursday. His office was expected to release more details about the case at a news conference Friday.
Prosecutors said the doctors gave thousands of prescription drugs — including opiates and sedatives — to Stern, who then gave them to Smith.
Messages left with attorneys for Stern and Kapoor were not returned.
The prescriptions were issued between June 2004 and January 2007, just weeks before her death on Feb. 8, 2007.
Medical examiners have said Eroshevich, a Los Angeles psychiatrist and friend of Smith's, authorized all 11 of the prescription medications found in the Hollywood, Fla., hotel room where the 39-year-old model was found unresponsive shortly before her death.
An arraignment date was not immediately set and prosecutors were unsure how much prison time the three would face if convicted. Stern faces six felony counts and the doctors face seven each.
Braun said Eroshevich began treating Smith in September 2006 when she suffered a nervous breakdown stemming from the death of her 20-year-old son, Daniel Smith, who died of an accidental drug overdose three days after his mother gave birth to a girl.
Eroshevich traveled several times over six months to the Bahamas, where Smith was living with Stern and wrote the prescriptions.
The criminal complaint also alleges Kapoor gave her excessive amounts of sleep aids, opiates, muscle relaxants and methadone-like drugs used to treat addiction, knowing she was an addict. Kapoor saw Smith in the spring of 2006 when she was treated at a Los Angeles County hospital for opiate withdrawal and prenatal care for the pregnancy of her daughter Dannielynn, according to the complaint.
Rumors swirled for weeks after Smith's death, but police cleared those around her of any wrongdoing and medical examiners ruled she died of an accidental overdose.
Documents obtained by the AP after her death showed most of the drugs found in her hotel room were prescribed in Stern's name and none were prescribed in Smith's own name.
The quantity was staggering. More than 600 pills — including about 450 muscle relaxants — were missing from prescriptions that were no more than 5 weeks old. Ultimately, it was a syrup — the powerful sleeping aid chloral hydrate — blamed with tipping the balance in the toxic mix of drugs and causing her death.
Stern, who initially claimed he was the father of Dannielynn, appeared distraught as he spoke last year at a memorial marking the one-year anniversary of Smith's death.
"Few people who knew Anna might not realize how smart she actually was because unless she wanted you to know you didn't know," Stern said.
Stern later gave up custody of Dannielynn after DNA tests proved Smith's ex-boyfriend Larry Birkhead was the father.
The little girl has been named the sole heir of her late mother's estate, with Birkhead and Stern as co-trustees. Dannielynn could inherit millions of dollars if the estate wins an ongoing court fight over the oil fortune of Smith's late second husband, J. Howard Marshall.
Associated Press writers Greg Risling in Los Angeles and Matt Sedensky in Miami contributed to this report.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times