LOS ANGELES (AP) — In a new twist at the Anna Nicole Smith drug trial, prosecutors are casting the dead celebrity model in the role of coconspirator who pressured her two doctors and her lawyer-boyfriend to provide her with excessive prescription drugs.
In closing arguments Monday, Deputy District Attorney David Barkhurst portrayed Smith as a drug seeking addict, discounting defense claims that she was a woman in extreme physical and emotional pain when she began taking opiates and sedatives including Methadone, Vicodin and Dilaudid.
Witnesses have said Smith suffered from chronic pain syndrome, seizures, migraines, spinal pain and fractured ribs, among other ailments. But Barkhurst suggested all the ailments were a ruse to get drugs.
"Anna needed her Methadone because she was addicted to it," he said.
Deputy District Attorney Renee Rose began her argument just before court recessed Monday and was to continue Tuesday. She said she might talk all day, but Superior Court Judge Robert Perry suggested she limit her speech. After Barkhurst's nearly three-hour speech, he said he feared jurors would begin to "tune out."
"Jury service is a duty," he said. "It should not be an ordeal. When you start repeating and repeating over and over, it's cumulative and has no effect."
The three defense lawyers said they would have a total of about six hours of summations before the case goes to the jury.
Barkhurst anticipated a major defense argument over how much pain Smith experienced after the birth of her daughter, Dannielynn, and the death of her son, Daniel, who collapsed and died in her Bahamas hospital room of a drug overdose.
Doctors Sandeep Kapoor and Khristine Eroshevich and Howard K. Stern are portrayed by their lawyers as caring people who tried to help her through that terrible time.
Barkhurst was unsympathetic.
"Life happens," Barkhurst said. "People give birth by C-section every day. People suffer losses."
Perry has told jurors a person who seeks drugs primarily to control pain is not an addict.
He said later he did not doubt that Smith was upset about her son's death but that didn't excuse Kapoor's actions in prescribing Methadone for Smith or excuse Eroshevich's trips to bring her drugs. He said Smith should have been attended by Bahamian doctors.
The defendants have pleaded not guilty to conspiring to provide excessive prescription drugs to the former Playboy model while knowing she was an addict.
They are not charged in her 2007 accidental overdose death in Florida.
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