State authorities investigating circumstances surrounding the overdose death of Anna Nicole Smith raided six locations Friday, including the offices and residences of two doctors.
California Attorney General Jerry Brown declined to say what charges could be filed but said the probe involved the “prescribing and dispensing practices of several California licensed doctors and pharmacies.”
Search warrants were served, and there were no arrests, he told a news conference. He added, “You don’t go to a judge and get a search warrant for somebody’s home unless you think some rather serious crime has been committed.”
Brown said he launched the investigation on March 30 after he learned that the drugs involved in Smith’s Feb. 8 death were prescribed by California physicians and came from California pharmacies.
Smith, a former Playboy Playmate, died of an accidental overdose of drugs, including a powerful sleep aid, at a Florida hotel. She was 39.
Brown said he did not know if the probe could lead to exhumation of Smith’s body, which is buried in the Bahamas. Brown said investigators had learned “quite a lot” from Bahamian authorities, but he declined to elaborate on grounds that it might jeopardize the investigation.
“We do know from the public record that there’s someone who’s dead and her body, upon investigation, is full of controlled substances and combinations of drugs that turned out to be illegal,” Brown said.
Los Angeles County district attorney’s spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said a total of six locations were searched, including the homes and offices of two doctors, but she would not name the physicians.
Ellyn Garafalo, a lawyer for Dr. Sandeep Kapoor, who prescribed methadone to Smith shortly before she died, confirmed the doctor’s home and offices were among those raided but declined to comment further.
Several people close to the model have fallen under suspicion since her death, including her psychiatrist, Dr. Khristine Eroshevich.
Agents from the California Department of Justice answered the door at Eroshevich’s offices Friday morning, but declined to say why they were there. They said the doctor was not in and provided a phone number for the department’s office of public information, which had no immediate comment.
The attorney general said agents have so far reviewed more than 100,000 computer images and files, analyzed patient profiles and pharmacy logs and interviewed witnesses throughout the country and abroad.
In what seemed to be a bizarre coincidence, celebrity Web site TMZ.com reported that Smith’s close friend and former attorney, Howard K. Stern, was at the home of Eroshevich when the officials arrived there to conduct a search. Stern, who was Smith’s lawyer as well as her long-time companion, was simply picking up his dogs from the house at the time, his spokesman said.
At the time of Smith’s death, more than 600 pills, including 450 muscle relaxants, were missing from prescriptions that were no more than five weeks old, according to the documents obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request.
Asked if the probe would expand to include the death of Smith’s son, Brown said: “We’re not setting any limits on this investigation.”
Daniel Smith, 20, died less than five months before his mother. Authorities have blamed his death on a combination of drugs including methadone and antidepressants.
The Medical Board of California said in April it was investigating Eroshevich, who, according to documents, authorized all 11 prescription medications found in Anna Nicole Smith’s hotel room the day she died. Eroshevich had traveled with Smith to Florida.
“This has nothing to do with whether or not Dr. Eroshevich in any way contributed to Anna Nicole Smith’s death,” Lincenberg said.
California’s medical board also opened an inquiry to determine if there was any misconduct by Kapoor, who reportedly prescribed methadone to Smith.
Methadone is a popular narcotic painkiller that is used as part of drug addiction detoxification and maintenance programs. Methadone overdoses can cause shallow breathing and dangerous changes in heartbeat.
A lawyer for Howard K. Stern, Smith’s attorney and companion, has said she took the sleeping aid to cope with grief over the death of her son. Stern’s Los Angeles attorney, James T. Neavitt, did not immediately return calls Friday.
Smith gave birth to daughter Dannielynn in September 2006, a few days before Daniel Smith died.
Stern initially claimed to be Dannielynn’s father, but Smith’s ex-boyfriend Larry Birkhead eventually showed he was the father and is now raising the child.
The baby could inherit millions from the estate of Smith’s late husband, Texas oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II. A judge has appointed Birkhead guardian of the estate.