The judge overseeing the drug conspiracy trial of Anna Nicole Smith’s two doctors and lawyer-boyfriend said Thursday he believes part of the prosecution’s case conflicts with state law and could be targeted in a dismissal motion.
Superior Court Judge Robert Perry said outside the presence of jurors that he had been researching the statutes used to charge the defendants with illegally prescribing prescription drugs to an addict and other crimes.
He said a statement included in the law demonstrated that state legislators did not want doctors to be prosecuted for trying to treat patients with legitimate pain issues.
“The more I read, the more difficult it is for me to perceive this as an area for prosecution,” Perry said.
He said the lawmakers’ statement should be presented for consideration by jurors during deliberations.
He also told attorneys he expects to hear a motion to dismiss at least some of the charges after prosecutors conclude their case, which may occur next week.
The judge has repeatedly criticized the government’s case, saying he did not think the evidence supported the conspiracy charges. In addition, he struck testimony by one of Smith’s former nannies because he said he didn’t find it credible.
“I would hope that a prosecutor would be intent on finding the truth, not just a conviction,” Perry told prosecutor Renee Rose Thursday. She was not given an opportunity to respond.
Judges can dismiss charges they don’t think have been proven after prosecutors complete their case.
Howard Stern and Drs. Khristine Eroshevich and Sandeep Kapoor have pleaded not guilty in the case. They are not charged with causing Smith’s overdose death in 2007.
The judge’s comments came moments after pain management expert Dr. Perry Gordon Fine testified for the defense that state legislatures around the country had been wrestling with how to balance legitimate pain prescriptions against excessive ones.
Fine said he thought Smith suffered from chronic pain and was not an addict.
Kapoor treated Smith’s pain with Dilaudid and other drugs in a similar fashion to her previous physician, said Fine, whose testimony will resume on Friday.
He was the first defense witness and was called out of order because of a scheduling issue.