Charges Against Anna Nicole Smith’s Lawyer/Lover Dropped

Judge rejects jury’s findings, says evidence did not show Howard K. Stern committed conspiracy; charges against psychiatrist reduced

Howard K. Stern, lawyer and lover to Anna Nicole Smith, walked out of court Thursday a free man after a judge dismissed all charges against him.

On Oct. 28, after an almost three month trial, a Los Angeles jury found Stern guilty of two counts in the drug conspiracy trial of the lawyer and two of the deceased Playmate’s doctors. Those charges could have seen Stern behind bars for up to three years.

Dr. Sandeep Kapoor was found not guilty on any count of fraudulently and excessively prescribing drugs to Smith. Psychiatrist Khristine Eroshevic, a friend and neighbor of the model, was convicted on four counts –two of conspiracy and two for illegally prescribing drugs to Smith.

In downtown L.A. on Thursday morning, Superior Court Judge Robert Perry told Stern (pictured right,with Smith in 2005) and others in the courtroom that the evidence against the lawyer did not show conspiracy. Perry said he believed that Stern was acting to protect tabloid fixture Smith’s privacy and that lawyer never intentionally intended to break the law when he obtained prescriptions for her under his name and others.

The judge also threw out one charge against Eroshevic and reduced the fraud charge to a misdemeanor with one year’s probation.

Stern, whose lawyers had repeatedly claimed during the trial was only doing what Anna Nicole asked him to do, expressed his relief and joy in the judge’s decision outside the courthouse. “She was an incredibly strong person and smart,” People reported Stern saying late Thursday morning, “nobody could take advantage of Anna.”

Not everyone agreed or was so happy with Judge Perry’s decision.

“His decision denigrates the substantial investigative efforts conducted by the state Department of Justice and the Medical Board,” said the L.A. District Attorney’s office in a statement. “It diminishes the huge social problem of prescription drug abuse facilitated by irresponsible caretakers and unscrupulous medical professionals …We will immediately pursue all appellate remedies to overturn Judge Perry’s decision.”

Anna Nicole Smith died on Feb. 7, 2007 in Hollywood, Florida.