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A judge on Thursday threw out the conviction of Howard K. Stern, the former attorney and boyfriend of Anna Nicole Smith, on charges relating to the prescription drugs that killed the celebrity. Los Angeles County, Calif., Superior Court Judge Robert Perry dismissed the convictions against Stern and Smith’s psychiatrist, Khristine Eroshevich. The judge also reduced a single remaining conviction, against Eroshevich, to a misdemeanor. “Judge Perry’s ruling today is totally inconsistent with his previous rulings at the preliminary hearing, the trial itself and once again when the defense concluded their case,” said Los Angeles County, Calif., District Attorney Steve Cooley, in a prepared statement. “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 caretakers and unscrupulous medical professionals.” He said he would appeal Perry’s ruling. The decision was a blow to Jerry Brown, formerly the state’s attorney general and now its governor, who launched a California Department of Justice investigation into drugs prescribed for Smith. In his ruling, Perry said Stern never formed an intent to defraud when he used false names to obtain prescriptions for Smith, who died of a drug overdose in 2007. Perry sentenced Eroshevich to no more than one year of probation. A jury convicted Stern and Eroshevich last year on charges that they used false names to obtain prescriptions for Smith. A third defendant, Dr. Sandeep Kapoor, Smith’s longtime physician, was acquitted on all charges. “It should make the criminal justice system proud that a judicial officer like Judge Perry has the integrity and fortitude to vindicate Mr. Stern by focusing on the proved facts and controlling law instead of unreasonable inferences and mischaracterizations of the evidence,” said Stern’s attorney, Steven Sadow, special counsel at Atlanta’s Schulten Ward & Turner. Eroshevich’s attorney, Bradley Brunon, a solo practitioner in Los Angeles, did not return a call for comment. Amanda Bronstad can be contacted at [email protected].

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