LOS ANGELES – Lawyers in the Anna Nicole Smith drug conspiracy trial began questioning prospective jurors Monday, asking some 60 people their attitudes about prescription drug use and whether a separate case against Michael Jackson‘s doctor would affect their views.
The prospective jurors, who filled out questionnaires before arriving in court, were quizzed on a number of topics.
One prospect wrote on his questionnaire, “Psychiatry is a fraud.” Defendant Khristine Eroshevich is a psychiatrist.
Smith’s doctors Sandeep Kapoor and Eroshevich and Smith’s lawyer-boyfriend Howard K. Stern have pleaded not guilty to conspiring to get massive amounts of opiates and sedatives for the former Playboy model and reality television star. They are not charged with her 2007 overdose death in Florida.
Most panelists raised their hands when asked if they had heard of the case against Dr. Conrad Murray, the personal physician of Jackson who has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 death of the pop singer.
The prospects indicated the case against Murray wouldn’t influence their judgment.
“Another case I’m aware of where a celebrity died, a doctor is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death,” Superior Court Judge Robert Perry said. “You don’t have that here.”
Perry hopes to have a panel seated in two days, with opening statements scheduled for Wednesday.
The judge said juror questionnaires show most prospective jurors know something about Smith’s life and death.
“I was a little disappointed with the responses to the question, what have you learned about the case,” he said. “The answers were, ‘only what I saw on TV.'”