Anna Nicole Smith's boyfriend was urged to send her away for drug treatment but dismissed the advice, saying rehab "would kill her," the late model's onetime bodyguard testified Thursday.
Smith overdosed on prescription medication months after a conversation recounted by bodyguard Maurice Brighthaupt at an ongoing preliminary hearing to determine whether prosecutors have sufficient evidence to try Howard K. Stern and two physicians for illegally furnishing the Playboy playmate with sedatives, opiates and other drugs.
In his second day on the witness stand, Brighthaupt said he and one of the doctors charged, Dr. Khristine Eroshevich, frequently discussed their shared concern about the quantities and types of medications Smith was consuming in the period leading up to her 2007 death. He said Eroshevich, who was prescribing many of the drugs, chastised the model about following dosage instructions and at times resorted to throwing out pills when Smith wasn't looking.
Stern, her constant companion, brushed off the suggestion of drug treatment and Smith herself became irate when she learned of it, Brighthaupt testified. Stern, Eroshevich and internist Sandeep Kapoor have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Superior Court Judge Robert J. Perry barred the prosecution from questioning Brighthaupt about an alleged sexual relationship between Eroshevich and Smith. Investigators found on Smith's computer nude photos of the women embracing, and Deputy Dist. Atty. Sean Carney told the judge a sexual relationship would underscore the "breakdown of professional boundaries between doctor and patient."
But the judge disagreed. "I don't think the probative value is sufficient to get into it at the preliminary hearing," Perry said. "I'm not going to turn this into a circus sideshow."