Playboy centerfold Anna Nicole Smith continues to draw attention even after her death. Now her former boyfriend and two doctors have been charged with supplying her addictive prescription drugs since 2004.
She was found dead nearly three years later, at a luxury hotel in Hollywood, Florida.
A Broward County medical examiner ruled that the reality TV star had died of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs. She was only 39 then.
The three accused in the case furnished thousands of prescription pills to her, often for no legitimate medical purpose, California Attorny General Jerry Brown said in a statement.
They are being charged with conspiring to "commit the crimes of prescribing, administering and dispensing controlled substances to an addict" and "unlawfully prescribing a controlled substance."
"There is ample evidence that Dr. Khristine Eroshevich and Dr. Sandeep Kapoor violated their ethical obligations as physicians, while Mr. Howard Kevin Stern funneled highly addictive drugs to Ms. Smith," the statement said. Stern is a former boyfriend of the now dead star.
According to the statement, the three provided Smith with "opiates, benzodiazepines, and other controlled and non-controlled substances."
The doctors were also charged with one count each of obtaining a prescription for opiates by "fraud, deceit or misrepresentation," and each was charged with obtaining a prescription for opiates by giving a false name or address.
While Dr.Kapoor was not available for comment, Adam Braun, an attorney of Khristine Eroshevich, spoke to the Los Angeles Times.
Eroshevich, a psychiatrist, treated Smith during the tumultuous last six months of her life, Rong-Gong Lin II and Harriet Ryan reported.
The 61-year-old doctor traveled to the Bahamas "five to six times" to care for Smith, who had suffered a nervous breakdown stemming from postpartum depression and the 2006 death of her son.
Eroshevich wrote prescriptions for a range of psychotropic drugs for Smith to take to the Bahamas because not all the medications were available in island pharmacies, attorney Braun said.
He acknowledged that the psychiatrist used false names on prescriptions for Smith, but said the pseudonyms were necessary to protect her patient given the oppressive media coverage.
"There was essentially a swarm of media outside her house. She had paparazzi stealing her mail and rummaging through her trash," Braun said of Anna Nicole.
He said that his client plans to surrender in the next few days. Her defense, he said, is that "she did the very best she could under some very difficult circumstances."
"Failure to live up to the ideal is not necessarily criminal," he said.