Lawyer: Smith case prosecutor encouraged perjury
LOS ANGELES (AP) -September 15, 2010 -- Howard K. Stern's lawyer angrily accused a prosecutor Tuesday of encouraging perjury by a key witness at the Anna Nicole Smith drug conspiracy trial.
Defense attorney Steve Sadow was red-faced as he asked the judge to strike the entire testimony of Nadine Alexie, a former nanny for Smith.
"I'm considering it," Superior Court Judge Robert Perry said without making a ruling.
Stern, Smith's lawyer-boyfriend, and two doctors, Khristine Eroshevich and Sandeep Kapoor, have pleaded not guilty to providing the former Playboy model with excessive opiates and sedatives. They are not charged with causing her overdose death in 2007.
The dispute in court Tuesday involved testimony by Nadine Alexie that she had taught her sister-in-law Quethlie Alexie to recognize Stern's name on prescription bottles, even though Quethlie Alexie reads no English.
Sadow suggested prosecutor Renee Rose had encouraged Nadine Alexie to fabricate the story to explain her sister-in law's statements on the witness stand that she had seen Stern's name on the bottles.
When the judge left the bench, Sadow shouted at Rose: "In my whole career I've never seen a prosecutor do a stunt like that. You ought to look in the mirror and think about what you're doing. It's outrageous."
Rose did not respond to the accusation.
Asked later if Rose would have a comment, district attorney's spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said, "Whatever statement she has she will be making in court."
Before Sadow spoke, Perry dismissed jurors from the courtroom and appeared to predict what Sadow was going to say.
"Let's take a deep breath before we go on," Perry said. "I don't want to say something I will regret, so I'm not saying anything."
He urged Sadow to consider doing the same, but the lawyer said he felt he had to speak.
"That was suborned perjury," Sadow said, using the legal term for encouraging a witness to lie. "The people know this is perjurious testimony."
The uproar came after former nanny Quethlie Alexie concluded three days on the witness stand. Under questioning by defense lawyer Brad Brunon about her literacy in English, Quethlie said through a Creole interpreter that she could not read or write English, even though she could speak it.
Brunon took her through an English language affidavit she had signed trying to determine her skill. She said she couldn't read the document but had signed it anyway after it was read to her.
Earlier, she had testified she saw pill bottles of medicine in Smith's home and read Stern's name on many of them.
When Nadine Alexie took the witness stand later, Rose asked how Quethlie was able to read Stern's name on the bottles. Nadine said she began teaching Quethlie how to read and write English after they went to work for Smith.
She said she specifically showed her Stern's name and told her how to read and write it "so if she saw things in his name she would know who they belonged to."
Nadine Alexie said she went through two years of college and reads and writes English perfectly. But she insisted she did not read a one-page legal affidavit attesting to her sister's truthfulness before she signed it.
"I just didn't read it," she said.
"So you're in a lawyer's office with a notary public and they ask you to sign a document and you don't read it?" Brunon asked.
"I didn't read it," Nadine Alexie said with a shrug but no explanation.
There has been confusion about the two women's surnames. Both were originally given as Alexie, but Quethlie later said her surname was Alexis, which is how she signed the affidavit.
The complaint by Sadow capped a day that began with jurors seeing a slide slow of 90 images of Smith appearing healthy, active and involved with her baby during the three months that Quethlie claimed she was drugged and barely able to function.
Sadow presented the pictures taken in late 2006, including some shot days after Smith gave birth to her daughter, Dannielynn.
There were shots of Smith feeding and kissing the baby and posing with Stern and the baby in a family-style portrait.
Other images depicted a sun-splashed commitment ceremony with Stern in which Smith wore a wedding gown on a boat.
Quethlie Alexie previously testified that Smith was in a semiconscious state during the period when most of the photos were taken.
The prosecution responded to the slideshow by showing a few poor quality photos, including one of a disheveled-looking Smith lying in bed with what appeared to be a medicinal drip apparatus in her hand.
Quethlie Alexie testified the picture was taken when Smith was sick and Eroshevich installed the device to give her serum.
The witness also said she had signed two affidavits about the case in the Bahamas that were untrue.
With jurors dismissed from the courtroom several times, Judge Perry voiced his frustration with the witness and said, "The court sees serious credibility issues."
Perry also reiterated his previous concerns about the case.
"I think this is a very unfocused prosecution," he said. "I have problems with the way the evidence is coming out."
anna nicole smith, entertainment
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