Three close associates of the late Anna Nicole Smith – her former lover/attorney Howard K. Stern, psychiatrist Khristine Eroshevich and internist Sandeep Kapoor – pleaded not guilty to several felony charges in connection with the Playboy model's drug-related death, during their arraignment in a Los Angeles courtroom Friday.
The three defendants, in their plea, denied illegally plotting to provide the reality TV star with a deadly combination of drugs, which led to her fatal overdose in a Florida hotel room in February 2007 at the age of 39.
In another major development, Judge David Wesley denied a motion that the two doctors be forced to turn over their prescription pads and also rejected a motion to suspend their licenses. In making his ruling, the judge questioned why the Attorney General’s office waited so long after Anna Nicole’s death to make that request. The judge did say that the Attorney General’s office could request the doctors be monitored. "I will grant a monitoring order if you present it to me," the judge said.
The hearing on whether the doctors will be monitored is set for December 18th.
Stern, Kapoor, and Eroshevich -- each charged with eight felonies -- are accused of conspiring to illegally provide Smith with sedatives and opiates before she died. They are not charged with causing her death and say they were trying to help her. A trial date is now set for February 5th, 2010.
All three defendants could face five years in prison if they are convicted, authorities said.