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Smith's psychiatrist, boyfriend convicted

October 28, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A jury on Thursday convicted Anna Nicole Smith's psychiatrist and boyfriend of conspiracy in a prescription drug case involving the former Playboy model but acquitted the doctor who prescribed a plethora of drugs for her.The jury deliberated about 58 hours after being asked to decide if the three defendants were trying to relieve Smith's emotional and physical pain or were feeding her addiction to prescription drugs.

The only conviction against Smith's boyfriend-lawyer Howard K. Stern was for giving false names and acting by fraud to obtain prescriptions. He was acquitted of seven other charges, including three counts of unlawfully prescribing a controlled substance.

"The jury found me not guilty of seven counts. These were all the counts related to whether the medication was for a legitimate medical purpose or for whether Anna Nicole was an addict," said Stern.

Psychiatrist Khristine Eroshevich, 62, was convicted of four criminal counts, including the two conspiracy charges. She was charged with authorizing 11 prescriptions under nine aliases, which she claimed was to protect Smith's privacy. The jury deadlocked on two counts against her.

"I feel relieved," Eroshevich said. "I'm just happy it's over. They did their best."

Dr. Sandeep Kapoor, who specializes in internal and geriatric medicine, was acquitted of all six charges against him. He said he felt "exhilarated" about clearing his name for the sake of his patients and his sons.

"This is not just a victory for me, but for patients everywhere who suffer chronic pain," an emotional Kapoor said outside the courthouse.

Stern and Eroshevich remained free pending a Jan. 6 hearing in which the defense can file a motion for a new trial.

If the motion is denied, the judge can sentence both defendants, but it was not immediately clear how much prison time, if any, they could face.

The defendants had been charged with conspiracy, excessive prescribing of opiates and sedatives to an addict, and fraudulently obtaining drugs by using false names. They were not charged in Smith's 2007 overdose death, which was ruled as an accidental drug overdose.

The jury of six men and six women deliberated for almost three weeks.

The defendants argued for 10 weeks that they had been trying to relieve Smith's legitimate pain. The prosecution alleged that they went overboard to stay close to a beautiful celebrity.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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