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Carver County Attorney Mark Metz announced at a press conference on Thursdaythat no criminal charges will be filed following the two-year death investigation into the death of Prince.
Metz called the investigation "painstaking and thorough," and said that evidence suggests that Prince thought he was taking Vicodin, not Fentanyl on the night he overdosed. Metz said that a significant number of prescription pills were found at Prince's Paisley Park estate that were not placed in the container provided by the pharmacy, and that evidence suggests Prince took counterfeit Vicodin laced with Fentanyl, adding that nothing in the evidence suggests that he knowingly ingested Fentanyl. Authorities do not know where Prince got the counterfeit pills.
Metz also announced that while there will be no criminal charges filed following the investigation into the death of Prince, a $30,000 civil suit was settled with Dr. Schulenberg, a doctor who saw Prince before his death. Metz said that although Dr. Schulenberg prescribed Prince Percocet in Prince's longtime friend, Kirk Johnson's name, Percocet is not what killed the late singer.
"We simply do not have sufficient evident to charge anyone with a crime in Prince's death," Metz said.
Dr. Schulenberg's lawyer, Amy Conners, responded to the civil suit on Thursday in a statement obtained by ET.
"Dr. Schulenberg decided to settle with the United States regarding alleged civil claims in order to avoid the expense, delay, and unknown outcome of litigation," the statement reads. "He made no admission of facts nor liability and denies any such liability. The United States Attorneys’ Office for the District of Minnesota has confirmed that he is not a target in any criminal inquiry and there have been no allegations made by the Government that Dr. Schulenberg had any role in Prince’s death. Dr. Schulenberg affirms his previous statement that he did not prescribe opiates to any patient with the intention that they be given to Prince. After he learned of Prince’s addiction, he immediately worked to refer Prince to a treatment facility and to transfer care to a chemical dependency specialist. 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."
"In his nearly 20 years of practice, Dr. Schulenberg has provided the highest level of care to his many patients and has earned a reputation for being a caring and responsible physician," the statement continues. "He has never sought public attention or celebrity, and will continue to make the well-being of his family and his patients his first priority."
Prince was found dead in an elevator at his Paisley Park estate in Chanhassen, Minnesota, on April 21, 2016. He was 57 years old.
The official autopsy report on the singer's death was released by the Midwest Medical Examiner's Office in June 2016, which ruled his death "accidental," listing the cause as "Fentanyl toxicity" that was "self-administered."
According to court documents pertaining to the investigation into Prince's death obtained by ET in April 2017, the results of an unsealed search warrant revealed that bottles of opioid painkillers were found throughout the Paisley Park compound, with some of the bottles prescribed to Johnson. According to the court documents, Dr. Schulenberg claimed to investigators this was in an effort to protect the performer's privacy.
Johnson also told authorities that he was unaware that Prince had an addiction to painkillers. However, investigators were told by other witnesses that the singer "recently had a history of going through withdrawals which are believed to be the result of abuse of prescription medication."
Johnson's lawyer, F. Clayton Tyler, released a statement to ET at the time, reading, "After reviewing the search warrants and affidavits released today, we believe that it is clear that Kirk Johnson did not secure nor supply the drugs which caused Prince’s death. There will be no further comment."