Anna Nicole Smith's doctors, boyfriend in court

LOS ANGELES (AP) - December 11, 2009

Attorneys in the case said the trial may not happen until next summer but numerous motions will have to be resolved be

fore then.

Defendants Dr. Sandeep Kapoor, Dr. Khristine Eroshevich and Howard K. Stern were expected to renew their not guilty pleas. If convicted they could face five years in prison.

The trial is expected to provide testimony from previously unheard witnesses who surrounded Smith during her last days in the Bahamas.

The three were ordered to stand trial after a three-week preliminary hearing that detailed the multiple sedatives an opiates given to Smith toward the end of her life.

Smith died of an accidental overdose of at least nine medications in February 2007. The defendants were not charged with causing her death but were accused of conspiring to illegally provide her with controlled substances and supplying drugs to an addict.

Defense lawyers had argued that the defendants tried desperately to save the doomed model in her waning years, including a period when she gave birth to a daughter and lost her grown son to a drug overdose. They contend their clients did not know Smith was an addict.

The preliminary hearing delved deeply into Smith's troubled life and the role the defendants allegedly had in feeding her drug addiction as they were swept up in her celebrity world.

Larry Birkhead, the father of Smith's young daughter, said he never saw anyone take as many medications as Smith.

The doctors are also are fighting a medical board effort to suspend their licenses to practice pending the outcome of the trial.

Their lawyers say there is no evidence that their continued practices are a danger to the public and, in Kapoor's case, suspension would harm his patients who are in hospice care with cancer.

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