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Following more than two weeks of deliberations, the jury in the Anna Nicole Smith drug trial handed down verdicts Thursday afternoon
A jury convicted Anna Nicole Smith's longtime companion Howard K. Stern and psychiatrist Khristine Eroshevich Thursday in a drug conspiracy case.
The 41-year-old Stern, who also served as Smith's attorney, was convicted on two counts of conspiracy for helping to funnel prescription drugs to the star. He was convicted of giving false names and acting by fraud to obtain prescriptions.
Stern was acquitted of seven other charges, including three counts of unlawfully prescribing a controlled substance.
"The jury found me not guilty of seven counts. These were all the counts related to whether the medications were for a legitimate medical purpose or for whether Anna Nicole was an addict. In other words, everything related to the appropriateness of the medication, I was acquitted of," Stern told a crowd of reporters and TV cameras outside court.
"What the jury did find me guilty of were two conspiracy counts limited exclusively to my name being used on medication for Anna. Now, this was done to protect Anna Nicole's privacy and it was nothing more than that," he said.
Eroshevich, 62, was convicted of four criminal counts, including two conspiracy charges.
As she left the courtroom, Eroshevich said, "I'm just really happy that it's over."
Sentencing for Stern and Eroshevich was tentatively scheduled for Jan. 6.
A third defendant, Dr. Sandeep Kapoor, was acquitted of all six counts against him, including a pair of conspiracy charges.
Asked outside the courthouse for his reaction to the verdicts, Kapoor said, "It's surreal. It's overwhelming. It gives me a sense of purpose. ... I'm anxious to get back (to work)."
Kapoor also said the verdicts against Stern and Eroshevich were "really a victory for them too," saying the counts pertained not their use of different names on prescriptions to protect Smith's privacy.
"The emotional toll (of the trial) is unbelievable, and I don't know how I got the strength," he said.
Kapoor, 42, who was Smith's internist, wrote numerous prescriptions for opiates and sedatives during the period he treated her. His lawyer, Ellyn Garafalo, said he followed a drug regimen originated by Smith's previous doctor who sold his practice to Kapoor.
During the nin-week trial, prosecutors claimed the defendants were dazzled by Smith's stardom. They said drug prescriptions were filled to secure insider status with Smith.
Defense attorneys characterized Stern, Eroshevich and Kapoor as angels of mercy. They said the three were trying to help Smith before and after the birth of her daughter. Smith's 20-year-old son, Daniel died shortly after the birth at age 20.
None of the defendants were charged in Smith's 2007 accidental overdose death in Florida. She was 39.
Decisions Reached After 58 Hours of Deliberations
On Wednesday, jurors indicated they were struggling to reach decisions on some charges against the model's two doctors and boyfriend. The judge told them they should not hesitate to declare a deadlock if they can't agree on verdicts.
The jury sent notes asking what it should do if unable to reach a verdict on "a count or an object crime."
The panel also asked whether it would be correct to conclude Smith's drugs had no legitimate medical purpose if jurors find the prescriptions were written in excessive amounts. The judge told them the answer was no.