No one will be charged in the accidental overdose of musical artist Prince, a Minnesota county prosecutor announced at a Thursday press conference held nearly exactly two years after the singer's untimely death at age 57.
He was found unresponsive in an elevator at Paisley Park, his Minnesota home and recording studio. "As licensed professionals, doctors are held to a high level of accountability in their prescribing practices, especially when it comes to highly addictive painkillers".
At one point, two doctors who treated or planned to treat Prince, Schulenberg and Howard Kornfeld, an opioid-addiction specialist from California whose son Andrew was among those who discovered Prince's body, were questioned by investigators but they are no longer of interest, according to their lawyers.
Search warrants previous year revealed that prescription drugs were found all over Prince's house, some of them in the name of a confidant who claimed that he hadn't known that Prince was addicted to pain pills.
"In all likelihood, Prince had no idea he was taking a powerful opioid that could kill him", Metz said.
There is no evidence to suggest anyone around Prince knew the pills were counterfeit and contained fentanyl either, Metz said.
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"[Johnson] continues to deny that he had anything to do with the death of his close friend, Prince", Tyler said in a statement.
The source of the fentanyl dose that killed the singer is still unknown.
Metz said Thursday that Schulenberg prescribed Percocet to Prince shortly before he died, but put the painkiller prescription in the name of Prince's bodyguard, Kirk Johnson, in order to protect the music superstar's privacy. The settlement includes a $30,000 fine and monitoring under a two-year agreement with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
"The fact that criminal charges are not brought certainly does not mean that some person or persons associated with Prince did not assist or enable Prince in obtaining the counterfeit Vicodin", he said.
But the federal government alleges that Dr. Michael Todd Schulenberg violated the Controlled Substances Act when he wrote a prescription in someone else's name on April 14, 2016. On March 22, however, a court in nearby Anoka County ruled in favor of releasing the report to the heirs' legal team so that it could assess whether grounds for a civil case of wrongful death existed.
Prince's death at 57 sparked a national outpouring of grief, as well as a joint county and federal investigation.