The investigation into Prince Rogers Nelson's death apparently is coming to a close, two years after his body was found in an elevator at his Chanhassen recording studio.
On Thursday, Carver County Attorney Mark Metz will announce his decision whether to charge anyone in the musician's death. Metz said in a news release Wednesday that he would explain the "legal status of these matters" at an 11:30 a.m. news conference at the courthouse in Chaska but will take no questions.
Prince died of a massive overdose of fentanyl on April 21, 2016, according the medical examiner. The Star Tribune first reported that pills marked as prescription painkillers seized at the death scene were found to contain fentanyl.
A source with direct knowledge of the investigation said authorities believed that Prince took the pills not knowing that they contained the drug. An autopsy revealed so much fentanyl in Prince's system that it would have been fatal for anyone, regardless of their size or drug tolerance.
Just six days before his death, Prince passed out on his private plane while returning to the Twin Cities from a concert in Atlanta. The plane made an emergency stop in Moline, Ill., where paramedics scrambled to revive him on the tarmac. He recovered after two shots of naloxone, an overdose antidote.
Prince's close friend and associate, Kirk Johnson, told doctors in Moline that the musician may have taken Percocet, according to affidavits filed in the death investigation. Prince was documented as suffering from an opioid overdose, but he refused treatment at the hospital. Later, at a meeting with medical professionals "to assess and address" health concerns, Prince admitted to taking one or two "pain pills" that night.
Over the past two years, Carver County and federal investigators have conducted interviews far and wide and have pored over cellphone records and e-mail accounts. No one has been charged or publicly implicated in Prince's death.
Several of Prince's siblings, attending an estate hearing Wednesday at the Carver County Courthouse, said they had no knowledge of the outcome of the investigation. Sharon Nelson, Prince's half-sibling, and the attorney for Tyka Nelson, Prince's sister, said they were eager to hear if any charges would be filed.
At the hearing before Carver County District Judge Kevin Eide, Sharon Nelson and two other half-siblings, Norrine Nelson and John Nelson, filed a motion asking that the estate be reimbursed $2.3 million in costs and legal fees. They claim Comerica Bank & Trust, court-appointed as special administrator last year, has been charging the estate unreasonable fees and hasn't controlled costs. Comerica has received nearly $6 million in fees, according to a document filed by the three heirs.
Prince's estate is estimated to be worth $100 million to $300 million before taxes. In addition to the Nelsons, Prince has two other heirs, half-siblings Omarr Baker and Alfred Jackson. Baker attended Wednesday's hearing; the others were represented by attorneys.
Joseph Cassioppi, representing Comerica, argued that the fees aren't excessive for the complex work required, particularly because Prince didn't leave a will. The estate involves a record and publishing company, a museum, real estate and a variety of entertainment deals.
Cassioppi said the company had to research and defend itself against all the allegations the Nelsons had made.
The Nelsons attempted to remove Comerica several months ago, but Eide refused to grant the request.
Comerica uses Fredrikson & Byron for its legal needs but also charges the estate a flat administration fee of $125,000 a month. Attorney Sam Johnson argued that Sharon Nelson had the First Amendment right to express her opinions about Comerica and that the heirs are having trouble determining whether some of the bills they are receiving are for duplicate services.
It's unclear when the judge will rule on the motion.