Sorkin Avoids Jail, Heads to Rehab

ByABC News

June 19, 2001 -- Aaron Sorkin will be temporarily moving from The West Wing to the rehab wing of a drug treatment center. The creator and executive producer of the hit NBC series was given a judge's permission today to enter a drug treatment program, which will also help him avoid a felony conviction and jail time for drug possession, his publicist said.

In a move more befitting Beyond the Valley of the Dolls than the acclaimed political drama The West Wing, the Emmy Award-winning producer was arrested April 15 at an airport in suburban Burbank, Calif., after allegedly transporting hallucinogenic mushrooms, rock cocaine, and marijuana in a carry-on bag. He pleaded innocent last month to drug possession charges stemming from the arrest.

By agreeing today to adhere to the "Deferred Entry of Judgment" program, Sorkin entered a guilty plea, but no judgment will be entered while he's undergoing rehabilitation, according to a statement from his publicist.

If Sorkin follows the treatment program for the next 18 months, the judge will dismiss the case, the statement continues. But the district attorney's spokeswoman, Sandi Gibbons, indicated that Sorkin would have to follow the program for 24 months.

"Needless to say, it is a relief to have a resolution regarding my legal situation," Sorkin said in a statement. "I fully intend to proceed as directed by the court and am eager to get back to work and focus on what's important.

"In addition, I would like to thank my family, friends, and colleagues for the tremendous amount of support and encouragement they have provided during this period," he said.

Sorkin, who wrote the screenplay for the big-picture court-martial drama A Few Good Men and created the Emmy-winning White House series The West Wing, told the Los Angeles Times in a 1999 interview that he had previously been treated for an addiction to freebase cocaine.

"I'm the same as any other addict. I'm only a phone call away from getting loaded again," he was presciently quoted as saying then.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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