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Actor Robert Downey, Jr. Arraigned in California Court on Drug ChargesAired December 27, 2000 - 2:10 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Actor Robert Downey, Jr.'s drug problem brought him to a California courtroom today to face new drug charges.
Joining us now from Indio, California, CNN correspondent Paul Vercammen with more about this -- Paul.
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, when Robert Downey, Jr.'s attorneys entered the courtroom today they sought a continuance on this arraignment, but that was denied by the judge. Then, Robert Downey, Jr. entered a plea of not guilty to two felony drug charges, possession of cocaine, and possession of a methamphetamine. In this case, authorities say it was Valium. He also pled not guilty to a misdemeanor, which was being under the influence of a controlled substance.
What did happen is on January 29th, there will be what is called an extended drug program treatment meeting, and they will discuss the possibility of maybe negotiating something there. That would be Downey's attorneys. And the prosecutor, by the way, the prosecutor in this case, not talking specifically about Downey, had said that some 50-75 percent of the cases that go to those hearings are, indeed, settled or negotiated.
Here is what the deputy district attorney also had to say following this morning's proceedings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRICIA KELLY, DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Well, I don't think that you can take just one individual and determine whether or not a war on drugs is successful or not. I think that people are being held responsible for their actions and, as the district attorney in this county, it's our job to make sure that we do hold people responsible in this case, in charging him and bringing him to court.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VERCAMMEN: Now, this particular courtroom, 1A, behind me, Judge B.J. Bjork has some very serious rules here. he will not let anybody come in with, let's say, no gum, no shorts, no hats, and he wants shirts tucked in.
Apparently, though, he will allow still cameras in the courtroom. There was just a massive barrage of flashes inside and we were chatting amongst ourselves here with the CNN crew, and we had never seen anything like this, where so many still cameras are allowed to be inside.
Indio, California, normally, a pretty quiet, reserved place, to a large degree a resort town, it has kind of been turned upside down by this three-ring media circus that showed up to see just what would happen to Robert Downey, Jr. in this case.
Well, they got a glimpse of it, and we will all now see what happens on January 29th.
Reporting live from Indio, California, I am Paul Vercammen.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Paul, thank you very much.
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