The additional charges – which had already been filed against Smith’s psychiatrist, Dr. Khristine Eroshevich, and her internist, Dr.Sandeep Kapoor – are four counts of obtaining fraudulent prescriptions and one count of prescribing, administering or dispensing controlled substances to an addict.
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Stern has pleaded not guilty to the latest charges.
The charges come a day after the court released search warrant affidavits that tell how the three defendants acquired massive quantities of dangerous and addictive drugs for Smith after the heartbreaking death of her son Daniel.
In March 2007 – roughly four weeks after Smith died in a Florida hotel room, Broward County Chief Medical Examiner Joshua Perper had asked Smith’s friend and personal psychiatrist, Dr. Khristine Eroshevich, to help him tally all the drugs Smith had been taking.
Eroshevich, 61, brought with her Smith’s pill bottles, and the two of them compiled a list of 44 medications – including Klonopin, Topomax, Valium, Soma and the dangerous sedative chloral hydrate. While all the drugs were for Smith, the prescriptions were made out to several different patient names, including Michelle Chase, Anne Marshall, Susie Wong, Jean Smith, Howard K. Stern, Ben Thompson, Ann Smith, and Ben Stern.
This detail is included in roughly 200 pages of search warrant affidavits released Tuesday in the case against Howard K. Stern, 40, Eroshevich and Smith physician Sandeep Kapoor, 41, who are charged with prescribing the drugs that killed the 39-year-old model.
The warrants allege that the doctors prescribed an excessive number of drugs to Smith and in excessive dosages – even while Smith was pregnant with her baby, Dannielynn Birkhead.
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It further alleges that Dr. Kapoor apparently had a romantic relationship with Smith, in violation of medical ethics. The officers say their evidence includes a video of a shirtless Dr. Kapoor kissing Smith and nuzzling her neck at a nightclub.
Stops Short of Homicide Charges
The warrants also state that Eroshevich prescribed chloral hydrate for Smith in the name of an attorney who was not aware that Eroshevich had done so, and that Smith’s nannies told investigators that, when Eroshevich frequently visited Smith in the Bahamas, she and Stern “would crush pills, heat them to turn them into liquid and inject Smith.”
While the criminal complaint stops short of charging the three defendants with homicide, California Department of Justice Special Agent Jennifer Doss notes in her statement of probable cause that “several of the drugs found in Smith’s hotel room are the same drugs that caused her death, and all the prescription drugs were prescribed by Dr. Khristine Eroshevich.”
The investigators also quote pharmacists and medical experts who felt that Smith might commit “pharmaceutical suicide.”
Due in Court
Stern, Eroshevich and Kapoor – who have pleaded not guilty to all charges – are due in court Wednesday to set a date for a preliminary hearing. Their attorneys say they’ll show at trial that the warrant accusations are wrong. Stern’s lawyer says he trusted Smith’s doctors to prescribe what she needed for her physical pain and is not liable for the way they obtained the drugs.
“I don’t think anyone can say that Howard K. Stern didn’t love Anna and didn’t attempt, in his way, to do the best thing for her,” Stern’s attorney, Steven Sadow of Atlanta, tells PEOPLE.
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Sadow declined to comment on what kind of physical pain Smith may have had that would justify the high volume of addictive drugs.
Kapoor attorney Ellyn Garofalo adds that she doubts any of the three would have been charged if Smith had not been a celebrity. Despite the video, she denies that Kapoor and Smith were romantically involved, telling PEOPLE, “Dr. Kapoor has been openly gay for a long time and certainly wasn’t sleeping with her and had nothing to do with her socially.
Eroshevich attorney Adam Braun characterized the warrants as self-serving summaries of the prosecution’s allegations. He says Eroshevich was simply trying to help “her friend and patient” cope with the death of her son Daniel, which occurred the same weekend as the birth of Dannielynn.
“Although the care may not have been perfect, it was consistently guided by Dr. Eroshevich’s desire to help Anna cope with this horrific loss and the psychiatric and other medical issues exacerbated by it,” Braun tells PEOPLE.
The warrant affidavits say that, back on Sept. 15, 2006 (five days after Daniel’s death), pharmacist Ira Freeman received a faxed request from Eroshevich, forwarded by Kapoor, requesting high dosages of several medications for “M. Chase,” including Dilaudid, Lorazepam, Soma, Dalmane, Prexige and Methadone. According to the documents, Freeman called Kapoor to explain why he was declining to fill the prescription, which he characterized as “pharmaceutical suicide.”
Freeman remained concerned by the request and thought “they are going to kill her with this.” He then faxed the request to Greg Thompson, former director of the Drug and Poison Control Center at the University of Southern California, who responded that the dosages were “outrageously high,” and might be appropriate for a drug addict under supervised care or “if you were going to kill someone.” He said the Methadone dosages alone were roughly four times what a heroin addict might be prescribed, and that Eroshevich didn’t seem to understand the medications she was seeking.