Final defense lawyer offers argument in Smith caseLOS ANGELES (AP) — Anna Nicole Smith's lawyer-manager Howard K. Stern was also her best friend and lover and would never have been part of an alleged plot to provide her with harmful drugs, a defense lawyer said Thursday.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Anna Nicole Smith's lawyer-manager Howard K. Stern was also her best friend and lover and would never have been part of an alleged plot to provide her with harmful drugs, a defense lawyer said Thursday.
During his dramatic closing argument, attorney Steve Sadow, who represents Stern, said his client was closer to Smith than anyone.
“Here's a guy whose been with her since 2001,” Sadow told jurors. “Witnesses have said he cherished her, loved her. She was the love of his life.”
Sadow accused prosecutors of deceiving jurors with some evidence and trying to win at all cost rather than tell jurors the truth.
“How do you do this in a courtroom?” he shouted. “You don't deceive the people making the decision.”
His attack became so virulent that Superior Court Judge Robert Perry told Sadow at one point to direct his remarks at jurors not toward the prosecutors seated in the courtroom.
Stern and Drs. Sandeep Kapoor and Khristine Eroshevich have pleaded not guilty to conspiring to provide excessive prescription drugs to an addict and other charges. They are not charged in Smith's 2007 accidental overdose death in Florida.
Sadow was the last of the three defense lawyers to deliver a closing argument.
Prosecutors have argued that Smith was an addict, and the defendants were feeding her addiction rather than providing prescription drugs for any legitimate medical purpose.
Smith faked her pain to get drugs, and Stern, Kapoor and Eroshevich catered to her whims so they could remain a part of her celebrity circle, prosecutors said.
Sadow countered by accusing prosecutors of trivializing the pain Smith experienced when her son died of a drug overdose after her daughter was born.
Turning toward prosecutors, he said: “How dare you degrade and disparage Anna's life?”
Sadow also claimed prosecutors had presented misleading evidence that included testimony from a witness with a grudge against Stern who suggested Smith had a bruised face in a picture because of an argument, when she actually had undergone a cosmetic procedure.
“These were introduced by the prosecution to give you the impression that Howard Stern had done something to Anna and they know it isn't true,” Sadow said.
He stressed that Stern is not a doctor and would have been unable to conspire in her treatment. Nor was it his responsibility to force her to go into treatment for addiction when Smith was not addicted, he said.
“She decided to deal with her chronic pain with medication,” Sadow said. “It's the patient's decision as long as the patient knows the choices she has.”
Sadow also addressed one of the prosecution's strongest pieces of evidence — a video of the 2004 American Music Awards in which Smith appeared drugged or drunk.
“Anna was not at her best that night,” he said. “I think that's fair.”
He noted, however, that it was uncertain if she had taken medication, and reminded jurors of testimony that Smith had suffered a seizure the night before the awards show.
As he did during the nine-week trial, Sadow showed jurors photos of a pregnant Smith looking tanned and healthy during a visit to South Carolina, a time when one witness had suggested Stern was drugging her.
“Look at how beautiful she is,” Sadow said softly.