Broward County Medical Examiner Dr. Joshua Perper is heading back on the national pundits' circuit now that California prosecutors have filed felony drug charges against Howard K. Stern and two doctors in connection with the February 2007 death of Anna Nicole Smith from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs.
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That was the ruling of Perper's office, anyway, but the acquisition of that lethal combination of drugs was no accident. That's why Perper told me that today's news didn't surprise him.
"The initial information was that Anna Nicole Smith received her medication under another another name -- that of her attorney friend," says Perper, speaking of Stern. "And under medical prescription law that's illegal."
Perper says that approximately one year ago his office played host to an investigator from California he now believes was gathering evidence for the recently filed case. "He came for a day to review our findings and to look at the bottles of medication," Perper says.
Smith, of course, died in a suite at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel in Hollywood, and the international tabloid media was made to wait while Perper's office studied her death. I asked Perper whether he expects to be questioned by prosecutors or defense attorneys in the criminal case to come. "It depends on where the prosecution is going," he said.