| Anna Nicole Smith
Washington, Feb. 23: An Indian-American doctor in California is emerging as one of the central characters in a drama that has gripped America for a fortnight following the death of Anna Nicole Smith, Playboy magazine’s 1992 Playmate of the Year.
Dr Sandeep Kapoor figured repeatedly and prominently on every US television channel during prime time last night after a video surfaced showing the doctor groping and licking a consenting Smith in a gay bar in Hollywood in 2005.
Kapoor, a graduate from Boston University’s School of Medicine in 1996, is already under fire from the California State Medical Board for alleged professional misconduct in prescribing methadone for Smith under an alias, which was then shipped to her in the Bahamas. Methadone is widely used in the US to treat acute pain, but it is also used to treat heroin addiction.
America’s conservative talk show hosts and self-appointed guardians of morality were outraged when it was revealed last week that Kapoor had prescribed methadone during Smith’s pregnancy.
Last night, they were baying for his blood, alleging that the latest video in which Kapoor is shirtless, hot and breathing heavily while laying his hands on Smith, violates ethical standards of conduct between a doctor and his patient.
Similar photographs of Bahamas immigration minister Shane Gibson in bed with Smith caused a huge scandal and the minister was forced to resign a few days ago.
There were allegations that the minister fast-tracked Smith’s residency papers in the Bahamas in return for favours in bed.
The media has been besieging Kapoor ever since the celebrity news website, www.tmz.com, procured a copy of Kapoor’s methadone prescription for Michelle Chase just 13 days before Smith gave birth to a baby girl.
The website also obtained a copy of the Airway Bill under which a pharmacy San Fernando Valley in California sent the methadone to Vicky Marshall in the Bahamas.
Vickie Marshall — as spelt here — is the original legal name given to Smith by her parents and Michelle Chase is an alias used by Smith.
So intense is the media scrutiny of Kapoor that he now has a paid publicist and, of course, an attorney. But both have been deluged by so many calls that they are no longer answering their cellphones or returning calls with messages left on their land lines.
In the early stages of the media hunt for Kapoor, he told People magazine that “it was obvious she (Smith) had substance abuse issues”. But he insisted that Smith did not take prescription drugs during her pregnancy.
A sobbing judge in Florida, Judge Larry Seidlin, yesterday ordered that Smith should be buried alongside her son in the Bahamas. Her body is now in Florida where she mysteriously died at the age of 39.
The authorities have not yet announced the cause of Smith’s death, but there is speculation that if she died of methadone overdose, it could put the Indian-American doctor in further trouble.
Smith’s son Daniel, 20, died in September in the Bahamas due to drug-related causes.
The Anna Nicole Smith saga has all the ingredients of a real life soap opera. Smith married Texas oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II in 1994. They met at a strip club where Smith was then working. Marshall was 89 then and she was just 26. The tycoon died the following year and Smith has since been fighting his family over Marshall’s fortune, said to be worth at least $500 million.
At least five men have said they may have fathered Smith’s 5-month-old daughter Dannielynn. Smith’s boyfriend as well as attorney-turned-possible-father of Dannielynn is watching Kapoor groping her in the latest video.
Another clip obtained by www.tmz.com shows Smith sprawled upwards on a carbonnet during Hollywood’s Gay Pride Parade in 2005 with Kapoor by her side.