Defense in Smith case tries to discredit bodyguard

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LOS ANGELES (AP) - Defense attorneys in the Anna Nicole Smith drug conspiracy trial attempted to weaken the credibility of a key prosecution witness by questioning him about schemes to profit from his association with the former Playboy model.

Bodyguard Maurice Brighthaupt told Monday of signing contracts with “Access Hollywood” for a total of $50,000 to provide pictures and interviews after the Playboy model died in 2007 from a drug overdose.

He said Smith had given him a camera memory card with more than 100 photographs.

Among the pictures he provided was one of him in bed with Smith and her newborn baby, Dannielynn, he said, and images of the casket and hearse that carried the body of her son, Daniel, after his death.

Brighthaupt testified last week about drug use by Smith.

The exchange began the second week of testimony in the trial of Smith’s lawyer-boyfriend Howard K. Stern and her doctors Khristine Eroshevich and Sandeep Kapoor. They have pleaded not guilty to conspiring to provide Smith excessive amounts of opiates and sedatives. They have not been charged with her death.

The defense also sought to quiz Brighthaupt about a scheme detailed in deposition testimony in which he said he and another person planned to sell pictures of the newborn girl for $1 million.

The judge, who at first agreed to allow the testimony, later barred Brighthaupt from addressing that issue in front of the jury because he said it might be too inflammatory.

Deputy District Attorney Renee Rose complained the testimony would implant “the impression with the jury that everybody around Anna Nicole was scheming.”

Superior Court Judge Robert Perry responded, “The impression I get is everyone was scheming.”

Brighthaupt, under questioning, acknowledged that the first time he agreed to talk to authorities about Smith’s death in Florida was after Stern went on CNN and accused the bodyguard of stealing pictures.

Brighthaupt also acknowledged that the first time he claimed Stern had administered prescription medication to Smith was after that public accusation against him.

Brighthaupt, who was forthcoming on direct examination by the prosecutor last week, told Stern’s lawyer, Steve Sadow, he could not remember exact dates and claimed to have had “a little stroke” that blurred his memory of some events.

Brad Brunon, an attorney for Eroshevich, asked about the role of his client, a psychiatrist, in dealing with Smith after the death of her son, Daniel, from a drug overdose.

“She would counsel and talk to her all the time, comfort her as a mother would talk with a child,” Brighthaupt said.

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