LOS ANGELES | A judge Thursday dismissed the drug-conspiracy convictions of the late Anna Nicole Smith’s boyfriend-lawyer Howard K. Stern and her psychiatrist, allowing only one conviction to remain against the physician and reducing it to a misdemeanor.
Superior Court Judge Robert Perry found that Mr. Stern never had the intent to defraud when he used his name and others to protect Smith’s privacy when he obtained prescriptions for her.
The ruling marked the denouement of a long-running drama centering on the blonde beauty’s troubled life, which was documented on reality TV, in tabloids and in trial testimony. Smith also made headlines in a continuing $300 million court fight with the estate of her oil-tycoon husband.
Judge Perry also found that psychiatrist Khristine Eroshevich was acting out of concern for Smith and cited her long career and service to the community in deciding to sentence her to no more than one year of probation and a $100 fine for obtaining one Vicodin prescription under a false name.
“The evidence is that Howard Stern did not have an intent to break the law,” the judge said in dismissing conspiracy convictions against Mr. Stern.
Without Mr. Stern’s participation, the judge said, there was no conspiracy between him and Ms. Eroshevich, and he dismissed those counts against her as well.
Both defendants said they were pleased with the ruling Thursday and thought Smith would be happy with the outcome.
Mr. Stern said he was thinking of Smith, his lost love, when the judge announced his decision.
“I was looking up in the sky and thinking, she’s vindicated,” he said.
District Attorney Steve Cooley said he would appeal the ruling.
Jurors convicted Mr. Stern and Ms. Eroshevich of conspiring to violate the so-called “false name” statute to obtain painkillers for the former Playboy model. Ms. Eroshevich also was convicted of obtaining Vicodin by fraud.
The case was launched last year amid much fanfare by then-California attorney general and now-Gov. Jerry Brown, who denounced the defendants as conspirators in overprescribing prescription drugs to Smith, whom he called “a known addict.” He accused the defendants of being lured by Hollywood glamour.
After a three-week preliminary hearing and a nine-week trial, jurors essentially rejected those claims and convicted on only a few of the 11 charges.
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