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Robert Downey drug case continued until February 21


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INDIO, California (CNN) -- Actor Robert Downey Jr. Monday was granted a delay until February 21 for a preliminary hearing on drug charges.

Downey's lawyer, Daniel Brookman, said he needed more time to get information pertinent to the case.

Asked by Riverside Superior Court Judge B.J. Ork if he agreed to waive his right to a speedy preliminary hearing, Downey -- wearing wire-rimmed glasses, an open-necked white, button-down shirt and a blue blazer -- said, "Yes, your honor."

He is in an expedited drug program, which attempts to get simple drug possession cases off the books and out of the courtrooms as quickly as possible, often after plea bargains.

Ork pressed both sides to come to an agreement soon. "I would hope that we're not going to continue the matter on the 21st," he said. "I hope we do resolve it."

Downey, 35, remains free on bond.

He was arrested Thanksgiving Day at a luxury hotel in the California desert resort of Palm Springs.

Downey is charged with possession of cocaine, felony possession of the prescription depressant diazepam, also known as Valium, and a misdemeanor count of being under the influence of a controlled substance. If convicted on all three counts, he faces a maximum sentence of four years and eight months in state prison.

He entered a plea of not guilty to the drug charges last month.

Downey, who has a history of drug-related legal problems, was released from prison in August after serving time for a probation violation.

The actor, a member of the "Brat Pack" of actors that included "West Wing" star Rob Lowe and Sarah Jessica Parker of "Sex In the City" (HBO) fame, known for its hijinks in the early 1980s. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in the 1992 movie "Chaplin" and played a journalist in the 1994 movie "Natural Born Killers." He has been featured in several recent episodes of "Ally McBeal" and has signed a deal to do more.

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