Prince "Welcome 2 America" Tour - February 7, 2011
Getty Images

Prosecutors Won't File Criminal Charges In Prince's Death Case

The Minnesota prosecutor announced on Apr. 19, that state will end its two-year investigation into how Prince got the fentanyl that killed him.

The prosecutor in the Minnesota county where Prince died said Thursday (Apr. 19) that no criminal charges will be filed in the musician’s death, effectively ending the state’s two-year investigation into how Prince got the fentanyl that killed him.

Carver County Attorney Mark Metz’s announcement on no criminal charges came just hours after documents revealed that a doctor who was accused of illegally prescribing an opioid for Prince had agreed to pay $30,000 to settle a federal civil violation. Prosecutors alleged Dr. Michael Todd Schulenberg wrote a prescription for oxycodone in the name of Prince’s bodyguard, intending it to go Prince. Metz said the evidence shows Prince thought he was taking Vicodin, not fentanyl. He said there’s no evidence any person associated with Prince knew he possessed any counterfeit pill containing fentanyl.

Prince was 57 when he was found alone and unresponsive in an elevator at his Paisley Park studio compound on April 21, 2016. His death sparked a national outpouring of grief, and prompted a joint investigation by Carver County and federal authorities. An autopsy found Prince died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 times more powerful than heroin. State and federal authorities have been investigating the source of the fentanyl for nearly two years, and have still not determined where the drug came from or how Prince got it.

While Carver County said it was ending its role in the case, the U.S. Attorney’s Office had no immediate comment on the status of its investigation. But a law enforcement official close to the investigation told The Associated Press that the federal investigation is now inactive unless new information comes forward. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the case remains open.

Federal prosecutors and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration alleged Schulenberg, a family physician who saw Prince at least twice before he died, violated the Controlled Substances Act when he wrote a prescription in the name of someone else on April 14, 2016. The settlement, dated Monday (Apr. 16), does not name Prince or make any references to the Prince investigation. However, search warrants previously released say Schulenberg told authorities he prescribed oxycodone to Prince on April 14 and put it under the name of Prince’s bodyguard and close friend, Kirk Johnson, “for Prince’s privacy.”

Schulenberg’s attorney, Amy Conners, has disputed that and did so again on Thursday, saying that Schulenberg settled the case to avoid the expense and uncertain outcome of litigation. Oxycodone, the generic name for the active ingredient in OxyContin, was not listed as a cause of Prince’s death. But it is part of a family of painkillers driving the nation’s overdose and addiction epidemic, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 2 million Americans abused or were addicted to prescription opioids, including oxycodone, in 2014.

A laboratory report obtained by The Associated Press notes that one of the pills found in a prescription bottle in Paisley Park that bore Johnson’s name tested positive for oxycodone. “Doctors are trusted medical professionals and, in the midst of our opioid crisis, they must be part of the solution,” U.S. Attorney Greg Brooker said in a statement Thursday.

The settlement notes that the agreement “is neither an admission of facts nor liability by Dr. Schulenberg.” And in a separate letter to Schulenberg’s attorneys, prosecutors say Schulenberg is not currently a target of any criminal investigation. Under the settlement, Schulenberg also agreed to stricter requirements for logging and reporting his prescriptions of controlled substances for two years, and give the DEA access to inspect those records.

It’s illegal for a doctor to write a prescription for someone under another person’s name. Anyone convicted of doing so could lose their DEA registration — meaning they could no longer prescribe controlled substances — and could face discipline from their state medical board. The settlement says the DEA won’t revoke Schulenberg’s registration, unless he does not comply. It’s unclear whether the state medical board will take action. His license is currently active and he has no disciplinary action against him.

A confidential toxicology report obtained by the AP in March showed high concentrations of fentanyl in the singer’s blood, liver and stomach. The concentration of fentanyl in Prince’s blood alone was 67.8 micrograms per liter, which outside experts called “exceedingly high.”

Prince did not have a prescription for fentanyl. Search warrants unsealed about a year after he died showed that authorities searched his home, cellphone records of associates and his email accounts to try to determine how he got the drug. Authorities found numerous pills in various containers stashed around Prince’s home, including some counterfeit pills that contained fentanyl.

While many who knew Prince over the years said he had a reputation for clean living, some said he also struggled with pain after years of performing at an intense level. Documents unsealed last year paint a picture of a man struggling with an addiction to prescription opioids and withdrawal, and they also show there were efforts to get him help.

Associates at Paisley Park told investigators that Prince was recently “going through withdrawals, which are believed to be the result of the abuse of prescription medication,” according to an affidavit. Just six days before he died, Prince passed out on a plane, and an emergency stop was made in Moline, Illinois. The musician had to be revived with two doses of a drug that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.

The day before his death, Paisley Park staffers contacted California addiction specialist Dr. Howard Kornfeld as they were trying to get Prince help. Kornfeld sent his son, Andrew, to Minnesota that night, and the younger Kornfeld was among those who found Prince’s body. Andrew Kornfeld was carrying buprenorphine, a medication that can be used to help treat opioid addiction

 

This story was originally posted on Billboard

From the Web

More on Vibe

Getty Images

Bryson Tiller Announces Deluxe Edition Of ‘Trapsoul’ Debut

Ahead of the release of his highly anticipated new album, Bryson Tiller is giving fans another chance to fall deeper in love with Trapsoul. The Grammy-nominated singer announced that he will be releasing a deluxe version of his debut album to streaming service this Friday (Sept. 25).

The deluxe edition will feature fan favorites “Just Another Interlude” and “Self Righteous,” Tiller tweeted on Tuesday (Sept. 22). “Before we get into my new album, I wanna celebrate with this special edition of my debut album, 'Trapsoul.' Featuring a few songs that didn’t quite make the cut.”

before we get into my new album, I wanna celebrate with this special edition of my debut album, Trapsoul. Featuring a few songs that didn’t quite make the cut. Y’all asked for these on All Platforms and they’ll finally be yours this Friday. thank you! pic.twitter.com/8MJ5rC5jYB

— tiller (@brysontiller) September 23, 2020

Released in 2015, Tiller’s debut album put him on the map, and earned a Billboard Music Awards nomination for Top R&B Album. The triple platinum release, lead single “Don’t” cracked the Top 20 on the Billboard singles charts becoming his highest charting solo effort to date.

Earlier in the month, Tiller released the music video for his song “Inhale” which samples Mary J. Blige’s “Not Gon' Cry.” The end of the video reveals that Tiller’s new album will drop sometime this fall.

Watch “Inhale” below.

Continue Reading
Prince Williams/Wireimage via Getty Images

Da Brat Talks Coming Out, Going To Prison, Dating Allen Iverson And More

Da Brat sat down with Kandi Burruss for an episode of Speak On It where she reflected on her career, opened up about coming out as a lesbian, and more.

The Chicago native, who recently went public with girlfriend, Jessica Dupart, explained that while her sexuality may have been an open secret, she was scared to go public early in her career out of fear of disappointing her family, namely her grandmothers who have since passed on.

“I was nervous but I was like ‘f*ck it.’ I’m happy, I don’t care,’” she recalled of coming out. “I’m in love with this woman, she completes me, she makes me feel like I’ve never felt before.

“I got nothing but good responses,” continued Brat. “It made me feel so good that I did it. First of all, it was a weight lifted but I got nothing but positive responses then you got your troll motherf*ckers talking bout ‘we been knew.’”

After Brat got out of prison in 2010, Kandi approached her to be in a TV show about lesbians. “I thought about it but I just wasn’t ready [to come out],” she admitted.“I was still scared. I was like I’m not [about to] get on here with these gay b*tches and be looking all crazy. How can I pull it off and participate and not look gay? Now I don’t give a f*ck. This is my life. I’m happy, living in my truth, if anybody don’t like it oh well.”

As a youngster, Brat had several boyfriends. She says she didn’t realize that she was attracted to the opposite sex until she fell in love with woman at age 18. Throughout the year, she dated both women and men, one of whom was Allen Iverson. Dating the NBA star at the height of his career proved to be a struggle for Brat. The “last straw” was one of the women that Iverson was apparently sleeping with approaching them at a hotel.

“I’m like b*tch I know you see me sitting here with n*gga, you still gon’ say you’re looking for him? I must’ve mollywhopped that b*tch down the hallway,” she recalled. “I said ‘you know what? I can’t do this with you [Iverson],’ and I kind of like faded out answering the calls and just had to pull back, and then it eventually fizzled out.”

Further in the interview, Brat spoke about being revered by fellow inmates in prison while guards purposely mistreated her because she was a celebrity, and Mariah Carey coming to visit. During her three-year prison stint, Brat started penning an autobiography with the help of an inmate serving life but hasn’t been able to get the work back. The 46-year-old rapper and Dish Nation host hopes to release a biopic one day.

“I would love to like do a movie or docuseries, so people could see what the f*ck I been through, how I became the best of both girls: one side of the family was sanctified, the other side I got to wild out. So that’s how I’m like a tomboy on one side and a Christian on the other side.”

Watch the full interview below.

Continue Reading
Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic via Getty Images

Dr. Dre’s Estranged Wife Accused Of Embezzlement Amid Divorce

Dr. Dre and his estranged wife, Nicole Young, are embroiled in a contentious divorce battle, with both sides hurling allegations at each other. The latest round of accusations revolved around Nicole allegedly embezzling money from Record One, a company founded by Dre and Larry Chatman in 2015.

According to TMZ, the company was founded under an LLC of which Nicole is a trustee and signatory on the LLC’s checking account, and therefore had access to the company money. Chatman claims Nicole wrote herself a check for $353,571.85 last month,  plus an additional $30,000. Dre, whose birth name is Andre Young, and his business partner are giving Nicole a week to return the money or face a lawsuit.

In legal documents filed on Friday (Sept. 18), Nicole accuses her ex of hiding assets, kicking her out of their home, and years of physical, emotional, and financial abuse.

“Andre’s history with women provides context for the blatant disregard he had for the legal rights of Nicole, his wife and mother of their three children,” the complaint states before referencing Dre’s ex, Michel’le, and the Lifetime biopic that revealed the abuse she suffered. “Andre’s documented past is riddled with tales of dominating and physically abusing women, which he was forced to admit when a movie of his life was being released.”

Nicole alleges that she co-owns the trademark to Dre’s stage name. She also claims that he created an assets holding company to secretly transfer “valuable trademarks” that they allegedly co-owned. The documents allege that Dre threatened to file for divorce in late June leaving Nicole “no choice” but to “initiate divorce proceedings” two days later.

The mother of three was previously married to NBA player Sedale Threatt before marrying Dre in 1996. Dre and Nicole raised three children together, including her son from a previous relationship. Dre also fathered three children from previous relationships.

Nicole, who claims that she was coerced into signing a prenup, demanded a reported $2 million per month in temporary spousal support.

She is requesting a jury trial.

Continue Reading

Top Stories