Robert Downey Jr. Gets Probation

I N D I O, Calif., July 16, 2001 -- Robert Downey Jr. pleaded no contest to twococaine-related charges today in a plea bargain that will keep theaward-winning actor out of jail.

Under the deal, Downey pleaded no contest to one count ofpossessing cocaine and one count of being under the influence. Athird charge was dropped.

In exchange, Downey was sentenced to one year in a live-in drugrehabilitation program, three years of probation, will have to paya series of fines and was ordered to comply with a set ofregulations including random drug testing.

'Not a Gift of the Court'

Superior Court Judge Randall White explained the terms of thedeal and warned Downey he could go to prison for up to four yearsif he violated the terms of the deal.

Asked if he understood the terms, Downey replied: "I'm wellaware, your honor."

Downey, 36, was arrested at Merv Griffin's Resort Hotel andGivenchy Spa in Palm Springs during last year's Thanksgivingweekend. Authorities allegedly found the drugs in his hotel roomafter receiving an anonymous call.

The deal was struck under Proposition 36, which Californiavoters approved last year. It removes the threat of prison for drugoffenders unless they are charged three more times with drugviolations or repeatedly fail to cooperate in treatment programs.

"This is not a gift of the court. This is going to be hardwork," White told Downey.