Lawyer: Prince was planning addiction treatment when he died

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Prince performs at the19th annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Monday, March 15, 2004.| (AP Photo/Wireimage.com, Kevin Mazur/FILE

MINNEAPOLIS — Prince arranged an initial meeting with a California doctor who specializes in addiction treatment the day before he died, a Minneapolis lawyer for the doctor said Wednesday.

Attorney William Mauzy said the doctor, Howard Kornfeld, had never met or spoken to Prince before the singer’s representatives reached out to him on April 20. Mauzy, confirming details first reported by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, said Kornfeld wasn’t able to travel immediately to Minnesota, so arranged for his son Andrew to go instead.

Andrew Kornfeld took a late flight on April 20 so he could be at Prince’s Paisley Park studio complex the next morning.

Mauzy also said the elder Kornfeld arranged for a Minnesota doctor to evaluate Prince, and that the doctor had cleared his schedule for the following morning. But Prince was found unresponsive that morning in an elevator at Paisley Park, and it was Andrew Kornfeld — who was among three people to find him — who dialed 911, the attorney said.

“Dr. Kornfeld was never able to meet Prince, never talked to Prince, and sadly, unable to arrive in time to help Prince,” Mauzy said.

Mauzy said Andrew Kornfeld was carrying a small amount of buprenorphine, which Howard Kornfeld says on his website is a treatment option for patients with addiction issues that offers pain relief with less possibility of overdose and addiction. Mauzy said Andrew Kornfeld never intended to give the medication to Prince, but rather planned to give it to the Minnesota doctor who was scheduled to see Prince.

Mauzy said Andrew Kornfeld has been questioned by investigators. When asked by reporters about the legality of his carrying buprenorphine, Mauzy declined to answer. But he said he believes Minnesota law would protect Andrew Kornfeld from any potential charges related to Prince’s death.

Under the law, a person who seeks medical assistance for someone who is overdosing on drugs may not be prosecuted for possessing or sharing controlled substances, under certain circumstances.

Mauzy said it was not uncommon for Howard Kornfeld to send his son on his behalf. He said Andrew Kornfeld is a pre-med student and that convincing patients to seek treatment is something “he has done for years.”

A law enforcement official briefed on the investigation has told The Associated Press that investigators are looking into whether Prince died from an overdose. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to talk about the investigation. The same official also said investigators are looking at whether Prince had suffered an overdose when his plane made an emergency landing in Moline, Illinois, less than a week before he died.

Howard Kornfeld runs Recovery Without Walls in Mill Valley, California. His website describes the practice as “specializing in innovative, evidence-based medical treatment for chronic pain and drug and alcohol addiction.” Andrew Kornfeld is listed on the website as a practice consultant.

Mauzy said Prince’s representatives told Howard Kornfeld that the singer was “dealing with a grave medical emergency.” He declined Wednesday to detail the emergency, and also declined to identify the doctor.

Mauzy said Dr. Kornfeld hoped to get Prince “stabilized in Minnesota and convince him to come to Recovery Without Walls in Mill Valley. That was the plan.”

Authorities haven’t released a cause of death. An autopsy was done the day after Prince’s death, but its findings, including the toxicology results, weren’t expected for as many as four weeks.

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