Los Angeles (CNN) — Prosecutors in the Anna Nicole Smith drug case are recommending probation, not prison, for Smith’s psychiatrist and lawyer-boyfriend who were convicted on charges of conspiring to provide drugs using false names.
Howard K. Stern and Dr. Khristine Eroshevich, who face sentencing Thursday, were acquitted on the most serious charges of providing drugs to a known addict, which was the linchpin of the prosecution’s case.
Smith’s personal physician, Dr. Sandeep Kapoor, was acquitted on all counts in last year’s trial.
A sentencing memorandum filed by the Los Angeles County district attorney suggested the judge sentence Stern and Eroshevich to five years of probation, 300 hours of community service and a $5,000 fine each.
The prosecution also asked that Eroshevich be barred from prescribing controlled substances.
Stern’s community service should be with CalTrans, the state transportation agency, while Eroshevich should complete hers under the direction of the California Medical Board, prosecutors recommended.
Defense lawyers filed their own briefs asking for the convictions to be dismissed or reduced from felonies to misdemeanors.
Eroshevich’s lawyer argued that since the prescription involved in her conviction was for a non-opiate, it should be reduced to a misdemeanor. Illegal prescriptions for non-opiates are always misdemeanors under California law, while opiates may be treated as misdemeanors, defense lawyer Bradley Brunon wrote in his filing.
The prosecution argued the convictions of Stern and Eroshevich should remain felonies because the “defendants’ offenses were not an isolated occurrence.”
“Instead, the defendants engaged in a pattern of conduct which persisted for a number of years,” Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Sean Carney wrote.
Stern and the doctors were charged with conspiring to feed the reality TV star and Playboy model’s drug addiction, and using false names to obtain the drugs over the last three years of her life. The three defendants were not charged in Smith’s February 2007 death in a Florida hotel, which a medical examiner ruled was an accidental overdose of a sleep aid combined with the effects of a viral flu.
The case raised questions about ethical boundaries in a doctor-patient relationship, the prescribing of painkillers and anti-anxiety medicines and the use of fake names when treating celebrities.
The defense called only one witness — an expert who concluded that Smith suffered from chronic pain, depression and anxiety, not drug addiction.
Her drug dependency was legal since it was for legitimate medical purposes, including for treatment of her pain and anxiety, defense lawyers argued.
The prosecution said the doctors never said no to Smith’s drug-seeking because they wanted to be part of her celebrity entourage.
False names were used by Stern and the doctors to hide excessive prescriptions from the state’s computer system that monitors drug usage, prosecutors argued. The defense said it is a common practice in Hollywood, used to protect celebrities’ privacy from prying tabloid reporters.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Robert Perry hinted before the verdicts were returned that if any defendants were found guilty, he would consider “possible selective prosecution issues” when sentencing them. He would have the power to reduce most of the felony charges to misdemeanors.
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Category: Prison Time