LOS ANGELES – An expert witness withdrew testimony Wednesday about one of Anna Nicole Smith's doctors massively increasing her methadone doses, but he still maintained the doctor's actions fed her drug addiction.
Dr. James Gagne, testifying at a preliminary hearing, said he misunderstood records kept by Dr. Sandeep Kapoor and now believes the methadone prescriptions were not a major issue in the drug case against Kapoor and two other defendants.
However, Gagne stood by earlier testimony that Kapoor gave Smith excessive dosages of opiates and sedatives.
"She was an expert at manipulating physicians into giving her the drugs she craved," Gagne said.
Kapoor, Dr. Kristine Eroshevich and Smith's boyfriend-lawyer Howard K. Stern are charged with illegally funneling drugs to Smith, who died of an accidental overdose in 2007. All have pleaded not guilty.
In cross examination, Kapoor's attorney Ellyn Garofalo pointed to records of a jet ski accident in which Smith fractured two ribs and suggested she was suffering from extreme pain when Kapoor prescribed a powerful opiate to her.
Gagne said the amount of drugs prescribed by Kapoor was not appropriate for that injury. The pain from the fractured ribs would have lasted up to two weeks, but the prescriptions for the opiate Dilaudid and methadone lasted five months, he said.
He said Kapoor did not visit Smith enough during the period he was prescribing for her, and the sedatives she received could have pushed her into acute psychiatric distress.
Superior Court Judge Robert J. Perry urged the prosecution to limit further examination and try to end the preliminary hearing, which has lasted three weeks and will determine whether the defendants should stand trial.