Prosecution, defense rest cases in Smith trial
Los Angeles: Prosecution and defense attorneys rested their cases Monday in the seven-week drug conspiracy trial of Anna Nicole Smith`s lawyer-boyfriend and two doctors charged with providing her with excessive amounts of opiates and sedatives while knowing she was an addict.
Superior Court Judge Robert Perry planned to hear defense motions to dismiss the case before jurors returned for final arguments Thursday.
Perry has indicated he planned to throw out some charges before the case is submitted to the jury. He suggested prosecutors had overreached the evidence when they filed the 11-count indictment.
After jurors were dismissed for the day, Perry told lawyers his research showed most of the charges in the complaint actually amounted to low-level misdemeanors, some of which carry only a fine as a possible penalty.
"Should the court decide that the district attorney`s office decided to build a case because you had a dead celebrity and a bunch of low-level misdemeanors?" Perry asked.
Deputy District Attorney Sean Carney said it took two years for investigators to "unravel the puzzle" of the case.
"We believe there were felonies," he said.
The judge said the only felonies charged were three conspiracy counts, two of which he said earlier could be dismissed.
Jurors were told the case would be placed in their hands next week.
Much of the testimony focused on whether Smith, a former Playboy model and reality TV star, was addicted to prescription drugs or instead seeking relief from chronic pain.
The prosecution called a long parade of witnesses, but the defense called only one, an expert on pain management. None of the three defendants testified.
Howard K. Stern, Dr. Sandeep Kapoor and Dr. Khristine Eroshevich have pleaded not guilty to three conspiracy charges and other drug counts. They are not charged in Smith`s 2007 drug overdose death, which was ruled accidental.
The prosecution`s last witness was Dr. Tim Botello, a psychiatrist who testified that Eroshevich overstepped the physician-patient boundaries when she flew to the Bahamas with medications that were administered to Smith after the death of Smith`s son Daniel.
Under cross-examination by defense lawyer Brad Brunon, who represents Eroshevich, Botello insisted Smith should have been treated by a psychiatrist licensed in the Bahamas.
Brunon, however, has noted that some drugs Eroshevich brought with her, including Methadone, were not available in that country.
Botello suggested other drugs could have been substituted.
Brunon asked Botello: "Did any of (her) doctors say she was using drugs to get high?"
"I did not see that," the witness said.
Jurors also heard a stipulation read by Stern`s attorney Steve Sadow that prosecutors had spent $24,386 in travel expenses to bring two nannies from the Bahamas to testify.
At the end of their testimony, the judge said their credibility had been seriously undermined.