- Associated Press - Thursday, October 7, 2010

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Defense lawyers are urging jurors to keep in mind Anna Nicole Smith’s persistent pain when they deliberate on a drug conspiracy case against two of her doctors and her lawyer-boyfriend.

Howard K. Stern and Drs. Sandeep Kapoor and Khristine Eroshevich have pleaded not guilty to conspiring to provide excessive prescription drugs to the former Playboy model while knowing she was an addict. They are not charged in her 2007 accidental overdose death in Florida.

“Pain is as real as the person feeling it,” attorney Brad Brunon, who represents Eroshevich, said Wednesday. “The pain that is emotionally based is as excruciating as any other pain.”

The final defense closing argument by Steve Sadow, the lawyer for Stern, was scheduled for Thursday. Prosecutors will respond before the case goes to the jury.


Brunon and attorney Ellyn Garafalo, representing Kapoor, accused prosecutors on Wednesday of trying to prejudice the case with photos of Eroshevich naked in a bathtub with Smith and other photos of Kapoor nuzzling Smith’s neck after riding with her in a gay pride parade.

Brunon became emotional as he spoke of Eroshevich’s efforts to help Smith through the pain of losing her 20-year-old son just after giving birth to her daughter.

“People on the ground saw her as caring for Anna Nicole Smith,” Brunon said. “And what is her reward? She’s dragged through this, her name is ruined, and she’s publicly humiliated.”

He criticized prosecutors for showing the bathtub pictures repeatedly during the nine-week trial.

“They’re trying to prejudice you against her with something that has nothing to do with this,” he said.

Garafalo said Kapoor’s diary showed he knew he might have crossed the line by socializing with his patient.

“He never saw Anna Nicole Smith in a social setting again,” the lawyer said.

She concluded her half-day argument referring to Smith’s fame.

“If she did not have notoriety and if Dr. Kapoor had not spent one afternoon at a gay pride parade with his shirt off partying he would not be sitting here,” Garafalo said.

She said his medical judgment was never affected by Smith’s celebrity and his instinct was always to help her overcome the unremitting pain that plagued her most of her life.

Brunon said both doctors acted with a good faith belief that Smith was a woman in pain, not an addict, and lawfully prescribed opiates and sedatives.

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