Judge Dismisses Conspiracy Conviction of Howard K. Stern
No prison time in Anna Nicole Smith case
Dr. Sandeep Kapoor, Howard K. Stern and Dr. Khristine Eroshevich (Getty Images)
Superior Court Judge Robert Perry found that Stern never intended to defraud when he used his name and others to protect the Smith's privacy when he obtained prescriptions for her.
Perry also found that Eroshevich was acting out of concern for the late Playboy model 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.
A sentencing memorandum filed Wednesday asked for the judge to forgo prison terms and reduce their sentences.
Eroshevich and Stern were convicted last October of obtaining prescription drugs for the late Playboy model under false names and of giving Smith excessive prescription drugs while knowing she was an addict.
Their lawyers say using fake names to protect celebrities' privacy is common practice.
"This case never should have been brought," Stern said outside court.
"It has been four years of my life," he added, referring to the span since Smith's death.
Stern said he had not had time to grieve in the interim and now hopes to examine his options and move on with his life.
"I'm very happy," said Eroshevich. "I can live with the misdemeanor."
She added, "I don't want to be a martyr. Everyone makes mistakes."
Eroshevich and Stern could have been sent to prison for up to three years and eight months.
Judge Perry had said in September that he saw weaknesses in the prosecution case but felt he had to let the jury decide most of the charges. He said that in the past he had changed verdicts when he did not agree with them.
At that time, he dismissed two charges against Stern.
"I don't think there's evidence that a layperson knows it's illegal to write a prescription in another name for a celebrity," the judge said then, noting that Stern is not a doctor.
Eroshevich was originally convicted of four counts of fraudulently obtaining medication when prescribing drugs to the starlet under false names.
Stern was originally acquitted on seven counts of obtaining and providing drugs to an addict but convicted of two conspiracy counts of aiding and abetting.
A third defendant, Dr. Sandeep Kapoor, was acquitted of all six counts against him.
Kapoor came to court Thursday for the sentencing of his former co-defendants.
"I'm here to support them. This was four years of my life and today is finally closure," he said.
Smith died of an accidental overdose at a Florida hotel in February 2007.