A judge this morning surprisingly dismissed two drug conspiracy charges against Howard K. Stern, who was convicted of both last fall in the seemingly neverending trial into Anna Nicole Smith's death.
"I'm ecstatic," Stern told E! News after the hearing. No doubt. But what about his alleged partner-in-crime?
Along with Stern, Dr. Khristine Erosevich was also in court this morning, as both were requesting the dismissal of the charges against them and filing motions requesting new trials.
For Stern's part, he had no need to follow through on the second request, as Superior Court Judge Robert Perry dismissed all charges against Smith's longtime sidekick as a matter of law, stating that the evidence against him did not show conspiracy.
"Yay! My brother just got off," Bonnie Stern, Howard's sister, was overheard saying in court.
Perry noted in his ruling that Stern never had the intent to defraud the system while obtaining prescriptions under multiple names for Smith and only did so to protect her privacy.
"I think the prosecution was dishonest in her character," Stern told E! News of the "incredibly strong woman" that was Anna Nicole. "Prosecution tried to portray her as messed up on drugs in the corner of the room.
"I think a lot of this was done for publicity," he went on. "And they didn't care whose life they harmed. At this point, I will start grieving over what has happened."
"This case should never have been brought," Stern's lawyer, Steve Sadow, told E! News. "And it impacted people's lives in a horrible way. I think there was a lot of unnecessary drama based on Anna and someone tried to capitalize on it."
For now, Stern is trying to think positively.
"I'm just very grateful...I had great lawyers. If other people were in that situation, the D.A. could have gotten away for it. I'm grateful to [Judge Perry]. I'm going to pick up the pieces."
As for Erosevich, there will be celebrating on her behalf, although not quite as much as Stern. Perry dismissed all charges against her save for one, for obtaining a Vicodin prescription under a false name, and for the misdemeanor offense placed Erosevich on one year of unsupervised probation, as well as fining her $100.
"It's been a difficult year," she told E! News after the hearing. "I am relieved. I feel joyous and free. I, like other physicians, make mistakes. I only wanted to help her when the baby was born.
"I just wanted to hang with her in this difficult time. She lost her son and it was something she couldn't grasp. I think she would be happy with what happened today. I can live with a misdemeanor. I am very happy for Howard Stern."
That makes two of them. And only two of them.
"We strongly disagree with Judge Perry's ruling today," District Attorney Steve Cooley said. "The jury deliberated more than two weeks and reached a fair and thorough verdict in accordance with the law and evidence we were allowed to present.
"Judge Perry's ruling is totally inconsistent with the previous rulings at the preliminary hearing...His decision denigrates the substantial investigative efforts conducted by the state Department of Justice and the Medical Board. It diminishes the huge social problem of prescription drug abuse facilitated by irresponsible caretakes and unscrupulous medical professionals."
So, he's not happy with it?
"We will immediately pursue all appellate remedies to overturn Judge Perry's decision. A decision on whether we will seek a retrial on the hung counts will be announced later."
Guess that's a no.