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Defense grills key witness in Anna Nicole Smith drug trial

By Alan Duke, CNN
Anna Nicole Smith died on February 8, 2007, from "acute combined drug intoxication" according to a Florida medical examiner.
Anna Nicole Smith died on February 8, 2007, from "acute combined drug intoxication" according to a Florida medical examiner.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Her bodyguard calls Anna Nicole's doctor "very soothing"
  • Smith was "unbearably obsessed" after her son's death, Maurice Brighthaupt testifies
  • Howard K. Stern's defense lawyer questions key prosecution witness's motives
  • Stern and two doctors are charged in a drug conspiracy in Smith's 2007 death
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Los Angeles, California (CNN) -- Anna Nicole Smith's former bodyguard, who accused Howard K. Stern of injecting her with drugs, acknowledged he went public with the charge only after Stern called him a thief on CNN.

Maurice "Mo" Brighthaupt, who testified Friday for the prosecution, was cross-examined Monday by defense lawyers for Stern and Drs. Khristine Eroshevich and Sandeep Kapoor.

The three are on trial in Los Angeles County Superior Court on charges of conspiring to provide drugs to an addict and using false names on Smith's drug prescriptions.

While Brighthaupt was harsh when speaking about Smith's lawyer/boyfriend, he had praise for Eroshevich, a psychologist who was also Smith's Studio City, California, neighbor. She flew to the Bahamas to be with Smith after her 20-year-old son, Daniel, died in Smith's hospital room just days after she gave birth to a daughter.

Eroshevich was "very soothing" and "talked to her like a mother," counseling Smith about how to deal with the grief, Brighthaupt said.

The prosecution alleged both doctors gave the former Playboy model and reality-TV star a steady flow of dangerous painkillers and anti-anxiety drugs while knowing she was a drug addict.

The charges cover the last three years of Smith's life, which ended in a Florida hotel room with her death caused by "acute combined drug intoxication" on February 8, 2007.

The defense countered Smith was not an addict under the legal definition because her demand for drugs was fueled by chronic pain, anxiety and depression, especially after her son's death.

"She was a hurt woman," Brighthaupt said of Smith in the months after her son died.

Although she was "unbearably depressed," she would feel better for a while after taking the medications given to her by Eroshevich, he said.

Eroshevich worked to keep Smith on a schedule with her medicines, resisting the actress' demands to take pills early. It was something Smith demanded "all the time," he said.

The doctor kept Smith on a regular eating and sleeping schedule, he said.

Chloral Hydrate, a sleep medication prescribed by Eroshevich, "appeared to be one medication that helped her sleep," he said.

Eroshevich also helped Smith financially, he said, helping to pay some expenses when Smith had "cash flow issues."

Smith would get upset when Eroshevich mentioned she would have to leave the Bahamas to attend to her practice in California, he said.

"She would do a lot of whining," which he said was one way Smith manipulated people to get her way. Brighthaupt said he never saw Smith abusing prescription drugs before her son's death. The times he saw her intoxicated was when someone would slip her Ecstasy or alcohol, he said.

Stern's defense lawyer, Steve Sadow, grilled Brighthaupt for more than an hour Monday morning about his direct testimony in which he said he saw Stern inject Smith with drugs.

Brighthaupt reluctantly acknowledged that the first time he related that story in public was just days after he saw Stern's interview with CNN's Larry King on October 10, 2007.

Stern told King, "I was a thief," he said.

He denied Sadow's suggestion that Stern's interview angered him, insisting that he was only "a little disappointed."

It was a week later, however, that Brighthaupt accepted $10,000 from entertainment news show "Access Hollywood" to license the use of some Smith photos and for an interview.

He acknowledged that the interview was the first time he publicly said Stern injected Smith with drugs. Brighthaupt also related the story days later to a California drug investigator.

The trial, which began last week, is expected to last up to three months.