LOS ANGELES — The drug conspiracy trial of two doctors and the lawyer-boyfriend of Anna Nicole Smith entered its second month with the prosecution nearing the end of its case but for a lingering question: Will the nannies testify?
Nadine Alexie and Quethlie Alexis are Haitians who worked as nannies for Smith in the Bahamas caring for her baby.
They have not testified in a public forum, but their comments to private and government investigators have been the subject of controversy since Smith died at age 39 of a drug overdose.
During a lengthy preliminary hearing last year, a Department of Justice investigator read statements made to him during an interview of Nadine Alexie in which she said defendants Howard K. Stern and Dr. Khristine Eroshevich persuaded Smith to take drugs that sometimes left her asleep for three days at a time.
Sections of the lengthy transcript of interviews with the two women by investigator Danny Santiago were excised from the hearing by the judge who said they were too inflammatory.
Stern, Eroshevich, who is a psychiatrist, and Dr. Sandeep Kapoor have pleaded not guilty to charges related to over-prescribing drugs and illegally obtaining drugs for Smith under pseudonyms. They are not charged with causing Smith’s 2007 overdose death, which was ruled an accident.
Superior Court Judge Robert Perry asked last week if the nannies would testify.
“If I were the defense I would prepare for their testimony,” Deputy District Attorney Renee Rose said. “We are doing what we can to bring them here.”
The judge pressed further: “You are remarkably evasive regarding the nannies.”
Co-prosecutor David Burkhart said there were visa and travel problems because the nannies would be coming from the Bahamas.
Rose said she hoped they would arrive this week, but defense attorney Steve Sadow, who represents Stern, raised the problem of language translations for one of the nannies who speaks a Creole dialect. The judge asked if Rose had arranged for a translator and she said she had not.
“I’m not sure there’s a Creole interpreter in all of Los Angeles,” said the judge, who suggested she notify the court interpreters office immediately.
“The nannies are in the wind, so to speak,” the judge said.
Before court recessed last week, a proposed prosecution witness testified outside the jury’s presence.
Ford Shelley Jr., a member of a South Carolina family with whom Smith stayed during the last months of her life, said he had no memory of seeing medication bottles with Stern’s name on them in Smith’s possession.
Asked if he had ever expressed an opinion about Stern, Shelley said vehemently, “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it now. He wouldn’t have done anything to hurt her and I don’t know why he’s here.”
His sister-in-law, Melaine Thompson, gave lengthy testimony about Smith’s deterioration after the death of her son, Daniel.
Sadow asked: “You never once observed Howard K. Stern give Anna medication, is that correct?”
“Correct,” answered the witness.