Published: Fri, April 20, 2018
Culture | By Glenn Strickland

Prince death investigation criminal charging decision to be announced

Prince death investigation criminal charging decision to be announced

The announcement was made today at a press conference in Minnesota by Carver County attorney Mark Metz, with the decision coming almost two years after Prince was found dead on April 21, 2016, at age 57.

Metz said Prince had been prescribed Percocet by Dr. Michael Schulenberg days before he overdosed, but says it played no role in his death.

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.

The announcement Thursday from Carver County Attorney Mark Metz means the state's investigation into how Prince got the fentanyl that killed him is closed.

Prosecutors are expected to announce Thursday whether they will press any charges over the death of Prince, who had been treating pain from hip surgery.

"We have no direct evidence that a specific person provided the fentanyl to Prince", he said, adding that the investigation found "no sinister motive, intent or conspiracy to murder Prince".

A search warrant in the case said Johnson asked a doctor to prescribe pain medication for Prince, and the doctor prescribed oxycodone in Johnson's name. The settlement doesn't include an admission of guilt, and in addition to the $30,000, he has agreed to increased monitoring of prescriptions he issues.

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He gave Johnson 15 percocets, Metz said, which were all "because Prince wanted to protect his privacy".

The synthetic opioid, for which Prince had no prescription, is 50 times more powerful than heroin.

Authorities could not determine who provided Prince with the deadly pills.

"Dr. Schulenberg made a decision to settle with the United States regarding alleged civil claims in order to avoid the expense, delay, and unknown outcome of litigation". A day before his death, his people had contacted Dr. Howard Kornfeld, an opioid specialist from California, to seek an urgent help for the singer. The documents say various pills were stashed in bottles around Paisley Park, and that Paisley Park, cellphone records of Prince's associates, and Prince's email accounts were searched.

On April 21, 2016, the singer was found unresponsive in an elevator at Paisley Park, where he maintained an elaborate recording studio. He says Prince thought he was taking Vicodin pills, not the fentanyl that killed him, and there was no evidence anyone around Prince knew the pills were counterfeit.

The symbol of late musician Prince is displayed to pay tribute before a concert of French singer Michel Polnareff in Epernay, eastern France, on April 30, 2016. That prescription was not linked to Prince's death. Johnson is the one who had asked Schulenberg to write the prescription. He told investigators this was the first time he had ever done something like that for Prince.

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