Judge: Sex not motivation for drugs in Anna Nicole Smith case

Hearings are being held in the case of Anna Nicole Smith's death.
The prosecution cannot argue that sex was a motivation for doctors to give Anna Nicole Smith the drugs that may have led to her death, a judge ruled Thursday.

“I’m just not buying that,” Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Perry said. The ruling came on the third day of a preliminary hearing for Howard K. Stern — Smith’s lawyer and companion — and co-defendants Dr. Khristine Eroshevich and Dr. Sandeep Kapoor, on charges stemming from the Playboy model and reality TV star’s death. Deputy District Attorney Renee Rose told Perry she wanted to present evidence that Eroshevich — a woman — had a sexual relationship with Smith, which was the doctor’s “motivation to continue providing excess medications” to her. The prosecution planned to present an expert witness who would say such a sexual relationship between a doctor and addicted patient could compromise the care, Assistant District Attorney Sean Carney said. Court documents released last month revealed that investigators found photos of Eroshevich and Smith “naked in the bathtub in intimate embraces,” according to one sworn statement. One affidavit referenced a video clip of Kapoor “kissing and snuggling” with Smith “in a reclined position in a nightclub setting.”

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The three defendants are charged with an illegal conspiracy to prescribe, administer and dispense controlled substances to an addict. Stern faces 11 felony counts, while the doctors were charged with six each. Smith’s death in a Hollywood, Florida, hotel on February 8, 2007, was ruled to be from “acute combined drug intoxication,” the Broward County, Florida, medical examiner said. Her death came just five months after the birth of her daughter, Dannielynn, on September 7, 2006, and the sudden death of her 20-year-old son, Daniel, three days later. Maurice Brighthaupt, Smith’s part-time bodyguard, was testifying Thursday morning when Rose brought up the possibility of a sexual relationship. Brighthaupt, a full-time south Florida paramedic, said he was rarely paid for his bodyguard services “because they told me they didn’t have much money at the time.” He helped Smith because she was like a sister, he said. Before her son’s death, Smith was a happy, normal person, he said. “She knew she was the ‘it,’ ” Brighthaupt said. But in the five months after her son’s death and until her own death, Smith was “very weak” and needed help for everything, he said. “She just didn’t want to deal with life after the death of her son.” Nannies stayed with her infant around the clock at her home in the Bahamas, while Smith slept through most of the days, and she would sometimes get up late at night and stumble around her house cursing, Brighthaupt said. “Someone had to always keep an eye on her because she was very, very depressed,” he said. Other than medications, the only relief she got from her pain was her daughter, he said. “The times when she’d get really depressed, that’s when we’d bring Dannielynn to her to let her see the baby,” he said. Brighthaupt described Smith as “manipulative” when she wanted something. “She manipulated Dr. Eroshevich,” he said. Eroshevich, a Los Angeles psychiatrist, traveled to the Bahamas five or six times in 2006 to attend to Smith, he said. They had a mother-daughter friendship, not a doctor-patient relationship, he said. The doctor sometimes substituted placebos for the tray full of pills Smith regularly took for her complaints of pain and depression, he said. “She was very concerned that we needed to wean her [Smith] off the medications,” Brighthaupt said. In earlier testimony, California Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement Special Agent Danny Santiago said investigators found 12 different prescription drugs, including dangerous opiates, in Smith’s hotel room after her death. Seven of them were prescribed using Stern’s name — although spelled “Stearn” — Santiago said. A series of affidavits used by state investigators to obtain search warrants in their 2-year probe was unsealed last month, revealing many details of the prosecution’s case.