Published: Fri, April 20, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

Prosecutors: No charges in Prince's death

Prosecutors: No charges in Prince's death

"Prince had no idea he was taking a counterfeit pill that could kill him", the government official said. "My hat's off to them", he said. Investigators say that Prince took counterfeit pills that contained fentanyl before he died.

This week, a Minnesota doctor accused of illegally prescribing an opioid painkiller for Prince a week before he died agreed to pay $30,000 to settle a federal civil violation, according to documents made public Thursday. No suspect emerged, he said, during the "painstaking and thorough" investigation by the Carver County Sheriff's Office, which was coordinated with "several federal, state and local agencies". There was no evidence to suggest any of Prince's close associates were aware he had consumed counterfeit pills either, Metz said.

In his death, Prince became the most famous face of the epidemic of painkiller abuse in the United States. Where Prince obtained the fentanyl is still apparently unknown.

Metz's announcement effectively closed the case.

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"We simply do not have sufficient evident to charge anyone with a crime in Prince's death", Metz said. Prince was pronounced dead at 10:07 a.m.

But attorney Amy Conners says in a statement that Schulenberg affirms his previous statement that he did not prescribe opiates to any patient with the intention that they be given to Prince. Under the settlement, however, Schulenberg does not acknowledge any liability. "Dr. Schulenberg has previously disclosed all information regarding his care and treatment of Prince to his employers, law enforcement, and regulatory authorities in the course of his complete cooperation with all related investigations".

Prince died of a fentanyl overdose, not oxycodone.

"Dr. Schulenberg prescribed Schedule 2 controlled substances in the name of an individual knowing that the controlled substances were meant to be used by another individual", U.S. Attorney Greg Brooker said. The concentration of fentanyl in Prince's blood alone was 67.8 micrograms per liter, which outside experts called "exceedingly high".

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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. He said his father was unaware that he had brought the drugs. But that pain medication wasn't what killed Prince. The papers also show there were efforts to get him help. At the time, Johnson told hospital staff that Prince might have taken Percocet.

There are no restrictions on Dr. Schulenberg's medical license, and contrary to headlines and media reports published in the wake of today's unsealing of search warrants relating to the investigation, Dr. Schulenberg never directly prescribed opioids to Prince, nor did he ever prescribe opioids to any other person with the intent that they would be given to Prince. Schulenberg did so, Metz said.

WCCO's Mary McGuire spoke with one longtime fan before the announcement on charges was made this morning.

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