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No verdicts yet in Anna Nicole Smith drug trial

By Alan Duke, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Jurors sent two questions to the judge Wednesday
  • Judge Perry told jurors it was acceptable for them not to reach verdicts
  • Wednesday was the 11th day of jury deliberations
  • Smith's boyfriend-lawyer and two doctors are on trial

Los Angeles, Caifornia (CNN) -- Jurors in the Anna Nicole Smith drug trial, now in their 11th day of deliberations, sent questions to the judge Wednesday that indicated they are unable to agree on some of the charges.

"What should we do if we are unable to come to a verdict on a count or an object crime?" the jury asked in a written question.

The lawyers and defendants gathered in court Wednesday so Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Robert Perry could respond.

"If you can't reach a verdict, then you can't reach a verdict," Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Robert Perry told jurors.

Judge Perry encouraged jurors to ask more questions or request a "read back" of testimony before he declares the jury hung on a verdict.

The case against Smith's boyfriend-lawyer Howard K. Stern and two doctors is complicated, involving three conspiracy charges and eight other counts. Jurors have two months of testimony and hundreds of pieces of evidence to consider.

Stern and Drs. Sandeep Kapoor and Khristine Eroshevich are charged with conspiring to feed the reality TV star and Playboy model's drug addiction and using false names to obtain the drugs over the last three years of her life.

The three defendants are not charged in Smith's February 2007 death in a Florida hotel, which a medical examiner ruled was an accidental overdose of a sleep aid combined with the effects of a viral flu.

Their second question suggested that at least one juror accepted the prosecution argument that one of the doctors prescribed too many pills for Smith.

"If a juror were to believe that prescriptions were written in excessive amounts, does it follow that those prescriptions also have no legitimate medical purpose?" the jury asked.

Judge Perry suggested they read instructions he gave them more than three weeks ago.

The case raised questions about ethical boundaries in a doctor-patient relationship, the prescribing of painkillers and anti-anxiety medicines and the use of fake names when treating celebrities.

The defense called only one witness -- an expert who concluded that Smith suffered from chronic pain, depression and anxiety, not drug addiction.

Her drug dependency was legal since it was for legitimate medical purposes, including for treatment of her pain and anxiety, defense lawyers argued.

The prosecution said the doctors never said no to Smith's drug-seeking because they wanted to be part of her celebrity entourage.

False names were used by Stern and the doctors to hide excessive prescriptions from the state's computer system that monitors drug usage, prosecutors argued. The defense said it is a common practice in Hollywood, used to protect celebrities' privacy from prying tabloid reporters.

Judge Perry hinted that if the defendants are found guilty, he would consider "possible selective prosecution issues" when sentencing them. He would have the power to reduce most of the felony charges to misdemeanors.

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