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Testimony depicts final days of Smith

October 13, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The final days of celebrity model Anna Nicole Smith were described in court Tuesday as being marked by illness and confusion.Howard K. Stern, Dr. Khristina Eroshevich and Dr. Sandeep Kapoor are charged with multiple felony counts of conspiring to provide Smith with controlled substances.

All three defendants have pleaded not guilty.

California Department of Justice investigator Danny Santiago testified Tuesday that witnesses said Anna Nicole Smith was unable to walk unassisted into a Florida hotel and was being kept in seclusion.

Santiago recounted a detective's description of Smith's arrival at the hotel on Feb. 5.

"He said she was being supported by Mr. Stern," Santiago said. "He was holding her as they walked through the lobby. He said she wasn't her usual vivacious self. She seemed down and was possibly ill."

Santiago also said that Stern told police that the former Playboy Playmate was so weak the day she died that she used a baby bottle to get fluids.

Santiago also identified prescription drugs found in the hotel room as the prosecutor showed pictures of bottles and hundreds of pills. All the bottles had fake names, several linked to Stern. Some of the drugs were prescribed by Dr. Eroshevich.

Stern also told investigators that Smith had complained of flu-like symptoms and was being treated with Tamiflu by Eroshevich, who had the suite next door, Santiago said.

Eroshevich, at one point, asked a hotel employee to call a doctor because she could not write prescriptions in Florida, but Stern called to cancel the request because they did not want any leaks about Smith's condition, Santiago said.

Santiago said registered nurse Tasma Brighthaupt, the wife of Smith's bodyguard, was seated at her bedside at one point but did not notice Smith's lips were blue and her body was discoloring until someone else arrived and pointed it out. He said Brighthaupt thought Smith was sleeping.

By the time paramedics were called, he testified, the bodyguard had arrived and started CPR. Stern had left Smith that day to look at a boat, Santiago said.

The 39-year-old former model died on February 8, 2007, at the hotel. Her autopsy concluded she died of "acute combined drug intoxication," and the drugs involved were chloral hydrate combined with Benadryl, clonazepam, diazepam and lorazepam.

Smith died in the midst of a long legal battle to collect millions of dollars from the estate of her late husband, J. Howard Marshall II, owner of Great Northern Oil Co. Smith was 26 when she wed the 89-year-old tycoon. They met while she was a topless dancer at a Texas strip club.

That battle is unresolved. The estate ultimately may go to Smith's daughter, now 3.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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