Robert Downey Jr. Pleads Not Guilty

ByABC News
December 27, 2000, 12:08 PM

I N D I O, Calif., Dec. 27 -- Robert Downey Jr. pleaded not guilty today to new drug charges stemming from his Thanksgivingweekend arrest at a desert resort.

Downey, 35, who was arrested only four months after beingreleased from prison in another drug case, entered not guilty pleasto felony possession of cocaine and felony possession of thetranquilizer diazepam, each punishable by up to three years instate prison.

Downey Up for Golden Globe

The actor, nominated last week for a Golden Globe for hisrecurring role on the TV show Ally McBeal, also pleadednot guilty to a misdemeanor charge of being under the influence of acontrolled substance, which carries a maximum one-year jailsentence.

He also pleaded not guilty to a one-year prison enhancement forhis prior drug conviction.

The Oscar-nominated star of Chaplin eluded a media throngoutside the courthouse 130 miles east of Los Angeles by enteringthrough a side door about 8 a.m.

During the brief arraignment before Superior Court Judge B.J.Bjork, Downey let his lawyer, Daniel Brookman, do the talking. Thelawyer entering the pleas on the actors behalf.

No Drama This Time

There was no drama like a previous appearance in Malibu when hedescribed his drug problems: Its like Ive got a shotgun in mymouth, with my finger on the trigger, and I like the taste of thegun metal, Downey told a judge in 1999.

Today, Downey was asked at one point if he understood hisconstitutional rights and the actor stood and replied, Yes, yourhonor.

Brookman then said not guilty to the charges.

Brookman argued unsuccessfully before entering the pleas that heneeded more time to examine evidence made available Dec. 22,evidence that included audio tapes. The lawyer also said he hasntreviewed laboratory results.

Noting charges were filed Dec. 11, Riverside County DeputyDistrict Attorney Patricia Kelly said prosecutors werent requiredto produce evidence until 30 days before trial and postponement ofarraignment wasnt warranted.