- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 28, 2010

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The judge in the Anna Nicole Smith drug conspiracy case began whittling away alleged acts Tuesday detailed in a lengthy charging document targeting the model’s two doctors and boyfriend.

Superior Court Judge Robert Perry threw out 18 of the 39 overt acts listed to support one of the three charges that the defendants conspired to provide excessive opiates and sedatives to a person they knew was addicted.

Perry has not yet thrown out any charges or ruled on whether prosecutors proved there was a conspiracy. Most of the overt acts targeted by the judge were excluded because they included too many dates and involved actions that did not support a conspiracy, he said.

Perry stopped short of striking more of the 81 total overt acts alleged in the complaint and gave prosecutors time to eliminate some of them.

He said prosecutors should simplify the document if they wanted jurors to understand the complex case.

Perry has been critical of the prosecution case and previously said some charges would likely be dismissed.

The judge also rejected an 11th hour move by prosecutors to add Smith as an uncharged coconspirator in the alleged plan to provide her with excessive drugs.

The judge said such a theory conflicted with the original allegation that Smith was kept drugged against her will.

“We never contended she was kept drugged up against her will,” Deputy District Attorney Sean Carney countered.

The judge disagreed and said evidence during the trial showed Smith “was a willing drug taker.”

Defense attorneys objected to adding coconspirators, saying it would change the case and was unfair to the defendants.

Testimony concluded Monday against Dr. Sandeep Kapoor, Dr. Khristine Eroshevich and Smith’s lawyer-boyfriend Howard K. Stern. All three have pleaded not guilty to providing Smith with excessive prescription drugs while knowing she was an addict.

They are not charged in the 2007 overdose death of Smith.

Closing arguments were delayed until Monday while the judge considers dismissal motions.

In a separate development, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to reconsider an appeals court ruling against Smith’s estate in its effort to inherit some of the $1.6 billion estate of her husband, J. Howard Marshall, who died in 1995.

Smith’s 4-year-old daughter Dannielynn Birkhead is Smith’s sole heir. The girl’s father, Larry Birkhead, and Stern are in charge of the estate.

Marshall’s will left nearly all his money to his son, E. Pierce Marshall, and nothing to Smith. The younger Marshall died in 2006.

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