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Nanny denies prosecution coaching in Anna Nicole Smith trial

By Alan Duke, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: The court released dozens of personal photos of Anna Nicole Smith
  • NEW: Smith's nanny recants statement she saw Stern melt pills in a spoon
  • NEW: The nanny says calls from Larry King and Fox News scared her
  • The judge says he's considering striking testimony from a key witness
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Los Angeles, California (CNN) -- A key witness in the Anna Nicole Smith drug trial denied Wednesday that she was coached by the prosecutor on testimony the defense argued is false.

The judge is considering striking the testimony of one of Smith's former nannies after a defense lawyer accused the prosecution of "suborning perjury" -- coaching the witness to lie.

The judge also released dozens of personal photos of the actress with her infant daughter, Dannielynn, and boyfriend-lawyer Howard K. Stern. The defense showed the pictures to jurors to counter the argument that Smith was drugged during much of her last months.

Stern and Drs. Khristine Eroshevich and Sandeep Kapoor are on trial for allegedly conspiring to provide drugs to an addict and using false names on prescriptions for Smith.

The trial, in its seventh week, took a dramatic turn Wednesday when defense attorney Steve Sadow accused prosecutor Renee Rose of knowingly having Nadine Alexie, a former Smith nanny, lie on the stand.

"The people (prosecution) know this is fraudulent," Sadow said at the end of the direct testimony of Alexie.

If Judge Robert Perry accepts a defense motion to strike the entire testimony of the nanny, it would be a major blow to an already staggered prosecution case.

"I am thinking about it," Judge Perry said.

He already ordered the jury to ignore a portion of the testimony of Alexie's sister-in-law, Quethelie Alexis, because he found it unreliable.

Alexie and Alexis were supposed to be star witnesses for the prosecution. They both worked for Smith in the Bahamas for several months after the birth of her daughter in September 2006. They were fired two months before Smith died in a Florida hotel in February 2007.

The two nannies, both Haitians who live in the Bahamas, have recanted key portions of statements they made earlier concerning Smith's drug use in the last months of her life.

On Wednesday, Alexie recanted an earlier statement that she had seen Stern melt pills in a soup spoon and then inject the drug into Smith during cross-examination Wednesday.

Instead, Alexie said she only saw a spoon that appeared to be burned in Smith's bathroom. She assumed it had used that way "because I saw it on TV" in a movie.

She also backed away from earlier testimony that she had been threatened by unknown people, which prompted her to go into hiding a week after Smith's February 2007 death. She explained Wednesday that she became afraid after getting phone calls at her home from CNN's Larry King and Fox News.

She and her sister-in-law had both testified that they demanded the prosecution pay to relocate them to new homes in the Bahamas as a condition for their testimony. Fear for their safety was the reason, they both said.

"I tell them (if) I come to testify I'm going to need to move from where I am," Alexie said.

The defense has also highlighted other financial benefits the Los Angeles district attorney has given the women in order to convince them to fly to the United States to testify.

The prosecution not only paid for the two witnesses to travel to Los Angeles, but they were allowed to bring seven other family members at taxpayer expense.

"I tell them I would not leave my family behind," Alexie said. A nephew tagged along with her three children and her husband. Quethelie Alexis brought her two children with her.

Prosecutor Rose worked to convince jurors that the taxpayer-funded trip has been no luxury vacation, given as a reward for testimony.

The children have not been taken to Disneyland or even a movie in the eight days they've been staying in a Los Angeles hotel, Alexie testified. They've stuck close to the hotel watching television and swimming in the pool, Alexie said. The only outing was for two hours to a "little park" on Sunday, she testified.

Judge Perry has suggested several times in recent weeks that the prosecution had fallen short so far in proving the core of its case, including that Smith was a drug addict.

The defense contends that Smith suffered chronic pain, justifying the drug prescriptions in question.

"If she's being treated for pain, it's not illegal," Judge Perry said Tuesday.