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Jerry Brown calls Anna Nicole Smith's boyfriend her 'principal enabler' [UPDATED]

March 13, 2009 | 11:53 am

California Attorney General Jerry  Brown  discusses charges filed against Howard K. Stern and two physicians for conspiring to illegally furnish controlled substances to Anna Nicole Smith leading up to her 2007 fatal overdose, at a news conference in Los Angeles, Friday, March 13, 2009. Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown lambasted Anna Nicole Smith’s boyfriend as her “principal enabler” and called the recent charges against him and two doctors alleging they illegally provided her with prescription drugs “damn serious.”

“My hope is the message will go out: Doctors do not have a license to pump innocent and often vulnerable people full of dangerous chemicals,” Brown said.

Speaking before 14 television cameras and a dozen reporters, Brown stopped short of blaming Smith’s boyfriend, Howard K. Stern, and the doctors for the 39-year-old model’s 2007 death from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs, but he said the two-year, multi-agency investigation that led to charges uncovered behavior just as troubling as “street corner” drug dealers.

“People in white smocks in pharmacies and with their medical degrees are a growing threat,” he said.

Stern and Los Angeles physicians Khristine Eroshevich and Sandeep Kapoor are charged with conspiracy to prescribe drugs to an addict as well as other counts. Authorities contend that the doctors and Stern provided Smith thousands of addictive pills, often using phony names during the three years leading up to her death. The trio face a “theoretical maximum of five to six years” in prison if convicted, L.A. County Deputy Dist. Atty. Richard Doyle said.

Stern and Kapoor turned themselves in to the Whittier Police Department on Thursday night and were freed on $20,000 bail. Eroshevich will turn herself in Monday, authorities said. They will be arraigned in Superior Court on May 13.

Her lawyer said Eroshevich, Smith’s treating psychiatrist in the final six months of her life, used pseudonyms on prescription forms to ensure the model’s privacy from a throng of media following her every move. Lawyer Adam Braun said the psychiatrist wrote prescriptions for a host of psychotropic drugs in California so she would have medical flexibility in treating Smith in the Bahamas, where she was living at the time. He said not all of the medication prescribed was made available to Smith.

Eroshevich “did the very best she could under some very difficult circumstances,” the attorney said.

Brown said the trio was motivated by a desire to be close to Smith’s money and “high life.”

“There is a certain psychic gain here to be part of the cliques of celebrity and the power,” he said.

Updated, 12:40 p.m.: A lawyer for Kapoor said the gerontologist, whose practice includes a specialty in pain management, had done nothing wrong and was charged only because of Smith's celebrity status.

"Dr. Kapoor's treatment of Anna Nicole Smith -- despite the publicity and despite the hysteria -- was medically and ethically appropriate," attorney Ellyn Garofalo said.

Stern’s attorney said he would make a statement later today.

-- Harriet Ryan

Photo:  California Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown, at an L.A. news conference today, discusses charges filed against Howard K. Stern and two physicians alleging they conspired to illegally furnish controlled substances to Anna Nicole Smith leading up to her 2007 fatal overdose.

Credit: Chris Pizzello / Associated Press