A pre-med student who was at Paisley Park when Prince was found and called 911 may face criminal charges for his involvement.
Andrew Kornfeld was at the estate when the music legend was discovered in an elevator. But the reason behind Kornfeld’s visit is under scrutiny now because of what Carver County Sheriff’s deputies found in his backpack when they arrived, People reported.
The pre-med student, who is not a licensed physician, is the son of Dr. Howard Kornfeld, who runs an outpatient addiction clinic called Recovery Without Walls. The clinic had been hired by Prince’s representatives to begin an emergency treatment for his addiction to prescription drugs.
Andrew was sent to Paisley Park as a consultant on his father’s behalf, with a starter dose of Suboxone in tow; the drug contains buprenorphine, which is used to treat opiate addiction and is a controlled substance in Minnesota.
There are several problems with Andrew’s possession of Suboxone that day: He didn’t have a prescription, isn’t licensed to administer it, and carried the controlled substance across state lines.
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Kornfeld brought the controlled substance with him on an April 20 flight from California to Minnesota, an act attorneys and physicians told the newspaper is “unusual” and “absurd.”
His attorney claims that Andrew was merely bringing the drug to a local doctor who was going to meet with Prince the next day, April 21 — the day he was found dead. His attorney said he never intended to give the drug to Prince.
And the fact that Andrew was acting apparently under his father’s orders also poses a few legal problems.
Although he may have been trying to help Prince, the elder Kornfeld wasn’t licensed to practice medicine in Minnesota, nor was he licensed to treat patients via telemedicine. Adding to the mystery is the fact that doctors in Minnesota can prescribe and administer Suboxone, begging the question: Why did the doctor send his son across state lines with it?
It’s also illegal to prescribe a controlled substance without meeting with the patient in person first. The doctor never met or spoke with Prince before he was hired by the singer’s reps. He did, however, arrange for Prince to meet with a local physician.
“Sometimes the patient dictates the ground rules and you do your best to help them,” said pain and addiction specialist Dr. R. Corey Waller, to perhaps explain the arrangement.
Andrew’s attorney, William Mauzy, thinks that his client is protected from charges by a state law that shields people seeking medical assistance for someone overdosing on drugs. But he’s probably not protected by the Good Samaritan Law, which Andrew could also use to defend his actions.
Lawyer Eric Nelson told People that the law doesn’t apply because Kornfeld allegedly had the Suboxone in his possession before he was aware Prince had died. In other words, he may have obtained and brought the drug to Paisley Park before he knew Prince needed it.
And any argument that carrying the drug was necessary to save Prince’s life may not hold water either, since the singer lived in an urban area where local assistance was easily available.
“You have one of this state’s most beloved, iconic citizens. You have intense media scrutiny on a global level. You’ve got all of the makings sort of of a Lifetime movie here,” Nelson said. “I think… (law enforcement) are going to be extremely cautious and very thorough in their investigation because they know that the world is watching.”
The Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Attorney’s Office are involved in the case and helping local authorities. If he’s found to be at fault, Kornfeld could face up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine for possessing a controlled substance without a prescription.
[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]