The following continues my summary of preliminary hearing testimony in the criminal case against Howard K. Stern and two doctors. See more details here \”Three Ring Circus\”.
Next to take the witness stand was Ms. Jennifer Doss, a special agent with the California Department of Justice, Pharmaceutical Task Force. She presented evidence that pseudonyms, coupled with a variety of doctors, pharmacies and associates, including Howard K. Stern (“HKS”), were utilized to procure prescriptions for Anna Nicole Smith (“ANS”). She further corroborated her testimony with Homeland Security Agent Kenneth Krause’s report which documents multiple trips taken by defendants HKS and Eroshevich from California to the Bahamas. Special Agent Doss successfully tied in the transport of certain pharmaceuticals as well, including Demerol, Dalmane, Lorazepam and methadone – empty bottles of some of these drugs were later found in Eroshevich’s home.
During cross-examination, HKS lawyer Steve Sadow attempted to show some of these medications were meant to treat HKS’ back problems – stemming from Botox injections. Seriously? Demerol for a back injection? Is it possible HKS got botox in his back solely to get drugs for ANS-is it possible he attempted to defraud the doctor? Hmmm…I wonder.
Expert witness, Dr. Timothy Botello testified both via live testimony and through evidence submitted in a report commissioned by the California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement as follows: there are at least five instances between 2003 and ANS’ death in 2007, where Eroshevich over-prescribed Valium, Vicodin and other drugs. This abundance of medication represented what he described as an “extreme departure” from the normal standard of care, and that [Eroshevich] knew or should have known [ANS] had an addiction problem.”
Dr. Botello also presented a stark piece of evidence dating back to 2006 when ANS was pregnant with Danielynn: Eroshevich prescribed 3 different sedatives to be taken at overlapping intervals, despite the fact that ANS was admitted to both the Betty Ford Rehab Center and Cedar Sinai for addiction. Botello testified that defendant Eroshevich should have prudently administered the “lowest amount of drugs” possible, and only after consulting with a pain management team. He found no “legitimate medical purpose for prescribing all three [sedatives] throughout the day.”
Judge Perry stated prosecutors have “put on a rather compelling case of excessive prescribing” by Eroshevich. Compelling is a pretty strong word for the Judge to use, and it suggests that this case will indeed go to trial as I suspected from the beginning. Next up is a computer forensics expert. This is getting exciting…Stay tuned while I continue to nourish my guilty pleasure of tracking this three ring circus case!
Lady Justice is consulting with a sword sharpening expert and could not be reached for comment.