Former Playboy playmate Anna Nicole Smith's boyfriend and two of her doctors, including an Indian-origin medic, have been charged with supplying her addictive prescription pills for nearly three years before she died of an accidental overdose. Smith's boyfriend and attorney Howard Kevin Stern, 40, doctors Sandeep Kapoor (40) and Khristine Eroshevich (61) have been each slapped with three felony counts of conspiracy and several other charges relating to illegal prescriptions.
They were charged with conspiring to "commit the crimes of prescribing, administering and dispensing controlled substances to an addict" and "unlawfully prescribing a controlled substance," the offices of the California attorney general and Los Angeles County district attorney announced.
"These individuals furnished thousands of prescription pills to Anna Nicole Smith, often for no legitimate medical purpose," California attorney general Jerry Brown was quoted by The Los Angeles Times as saying in a statement.
"There is ample evidence that Dr Eroshevich and Dr Kapoor violated their ethical obligations as physicians, while Mr Stern funnelled highly addictive drugs to Ms Smith," he said.
According to the statement, the three provided the reality TV star with "opiates, benzodiazepines, and other controlled and non-controlled substances."
Smith died on February 8, 2007, at the age of 39 at a luxury hotel in Hollywood. A medical examiner said accidental overdose of prescription drugs was the cause of death.
According to the district attorney's office, the doctors were also charged with one count each of obtaining a prescription for opiates by "fraud, deceit or misrepresentation," and each was charged with obtaining a prescription for opiates by giving a false name or address.
The report said that attorneys for Stern and Kapoor could not be reached for comment. Adam Braun, an attorney for Eroshevich, acknowledged that the psychiatrist used false names on prescriptions for Smith, but said the pseudonyms were necessary to protect her patient from media coverage.
"There was essentially a swarm of media outside her house. She had paparazzi stealing her mail and rummaging through her trash," he said of Smith.
Eroshevich wrote prescriptions for a range of psychotropic drugs for Smith to take to the Bahamas because they were all available in island pharmacies, Braun said. He said that his client plans to surrender in the next few days. Her defence, he said, is that "she did the very best she could under some very difficult circumstances."
Braun said the psychiatrist travelled to the Bahamas "five to six times" to care for Smith, who had suffered a nervous breakdown stemming from postpartum depression and the 2006 death of her son.