Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Prosecutors lose bid to show Smith photos in court

LOS ANGELES – A judge has denied a request from prosecutors in the Anna Nicole Smith case to show in court three photographs of the late celebrity model and her psychiatrist, saying the images would further sensationalize a hearing and appear on television and the internet if they were presented as evidence.
The pictures were not described in court, but a search warrant affidavit refers to a scene of Smith and her psychiatrist Dr. Khristine Eroshevich naked in a bathtub.
"I don't want to sensationalize this hearing any more than it has already been sensationalized," Superior Court Judge Robert J. Perry said Monday.
Deputy District Attorney Renee Rose, who argued for admission of the photos, said that they would illustrate the lack of professionalism in Eroshevich's doctor-patient relationship with Smith.
"We are not trying to be salacious," Rose said. "We did not create these photographs."
Perry said he already understood the prosecution's argument about a doctor-patient relationship being "blurred," and he suggested prosecutors did not need the pictures to bolster their case.
Eroshevich and co-defendants, Dr. Sandkeep Kapoor and Howard K. Stern, Smith's former lawyer-boyfriend, are charged with conspiring to illegally provide Smith with controlled substances.
A preliminary hearing is being held to determine whether there is enough evidence to order the defendants, who have pleaded not guilty, to stand trial. The three are not charged in the death of Smith who succumbed to an overdose of at least nine different medications on Feb. 8, 2007.
The judge said Anna Nicole Smith have "put on a rather compelling case of excessive prescribing" by Eroshevich.
Her Anna Nicole Smith, objected to showing the photos, saying the publicity would prejudice potential jury members for an eventual trial.
Proceedings were set to resume Tuesday when focus is expected to shift to Kapoor, Smith's personal physician who prescribed medication to her for pain. An expert in pain management was scheduled as the next witness.
Dr. Timothy Botello, an expert in psychiatry, testified Monday that he concluded from reviewing records in the case that Smith was addicted to prescription drugs and Eroshevich should have known it. He said he could find no legitimate medical reason for the dosages she was prescribing for Smith toward the end of her life.
"Given the history of substance abuse, you would be careful to give the lowest amount" of drugs, he said.
Testimony indicated Eroshevich began her relationship with Smith as a friend and neighbor. Botello said that made it doubly important that she separate the personal and medical relationships while prescribing drugs.
Testimony suggested that Eroshevich was trying to help Smith recover from the 2006 death of her son, Daniel, when she began prescribing sedatives.
Braun has said that Eroshevich acted with good intentions.

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