Defense questions witness in Anna Nicole case - KMOV.com

Defense questions witness in Anna Nicole case

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A hospital psychiatrist who has been critical of Anna Nicole Smith's doctor for overmedicating the model was accused Monday by a defense attorney of weaning Smith from addictive drugs too quickly and ignoring the celebrity model when she went into distress.

The cross-examination of Dr. Nathalie Maullin by attorney Steve Sadow, who represents Smith's lawyer-boyfriend Howard K. Stern, was the first volley in a battle of doctors expected to dominate the case.

Stern is a co-defendant in the drug conspiracy case.

Maullin testified she treated the former Playboy model at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center when she came in pregnant and in withdrawal from the painkiller Methadone and the anti-anxiety drug Xanax.

Maullin said she concluded that Smith's doctor, co-defendant Sandeep Kapoor, had prescribed drugs that amounted to "overkill" for Smith's condition.

On cross-examination, Sadow elicited testimony from Maullin that she diagnosed Smith in 45 minutes as having a borderline personality disorder and ordered her weaned off Xanax.

Testimony also indicated Maullin was slow to respond when she began receiving calls from the hospital reporting Smith had hallucinations, couldn't sleep, was agitated and had fallen out of bed, suffering bruises.

Maullin said she didn't rush to the hospital when the calls came in over two days reporting Smith was extremely agitated and impatient.

Maullin said she didn't consider it an emergency.

"She was safe. She was in a hospital. Nothing bad was going to happen to her," said Maullin.

A nurse's notes from the period showed that Smith was complaining of pain all over her body, Maullin acknowledged. But she said she was never told that.

Maullin said when she did arrive at the hospital, she encountered Stern who had been at Smith's side throughout.

"I think he cared very much how she was," said the witness.

"Do you remember telling him the detox might have been too aggressive?" asked Sadow.

"I could have," she said.

Kapoor, Stern and Dr. Khristine Eroshevich have pleaded not guilty to conspiring to provide excessive opiates and sedatives to Smith. They are not charged in her 2007 overdose death.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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