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Probation urged for psychiatrist, manager in Anna Nicole Smith case

Prosecutors also urge community service and fines for Khristine Eroshevich and Anna Nicole Smith's manager and companion, Howard K. Stern.

January 06, 2011|By Victoria Kim, Los Angeles Times

After highly publicized raids, dueling news conferences and a contentious two-month trial, prosecutors are asking that a psychiatrist and lawyer convicted in the drug trial surrounding the death of model Anna Nicole Smith be sentenced to probation and community service.

Psychiatrist Khristine Eroshevich and Smith's manager and companion, Howard K. Stern, had faced a maximum of three years and eight months in prison for their October convictions on charges of conspiring to obtain controlled substances by fraud and by providing false names. Eroshevich was also convicted of two additional counts involving obtaining medication by fraud.

The jury acquitted Stern of seven of nine counts and cleared a third defendant — Smith's primary care physician, Sandeep Kapoor — of all charges.

The charges against the two doctors and Stern were announced more than two years after Smith's highly publicized 2007 death from an accidental overdose. In making the announcement, California's then-attorney general, Jerry Brown, denounced their conduct as "damn serious" and said he wanted to send the message that "doctors do not have a license to pump innocent and often vulnerable people full of dangerous chemicals."

In a sentencing memorandum filed this week, Los Angeles County Deputy Dist. Atty. Sean Carney said probation was the appropriate sentence given the jury verdict and the defendants' lack of criminal records. He asked that Eroshevich and Stern each be sentenced to five years' felony probation, 300 hours of community service and a $5,000 fine. Carney also requested that Eroshevich be forbidden from prescribing certain classes of controlled medications.

Defense attorneys, who were scathingly critical of prosecutors during and after the trial, saying they had been overzealous, overreaching and wasteful of taxpayers' money, argued in court papers that their clients should be granted a new trial or that their felony convictions should be reduced to misdemeanors.

"Once the wheat is separated from the chaff … it is clear that this prosecution should never have been brought," Stern's attorneys wrote, contending that the prosecution was motivated by "political gain and/or publicity."

Carney argued that the felony convictions should stand to serve as a deterrent.

"Dr. Eroshevich holds a position of trust and responsibility as a medical professional. It is an especially egregious violation of the law when one abuses a position of trust," he wrote.

Eroshevich and Stern are scheduled to be sentenced Thursday by Superior Court Judge Robert Perry.

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