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'The Simple Life's Nicole Richie in rehab over earlier drug charge

By Reality TV World staff, 10/28/2003 

Nicole Richie, the 21-year-old daughter of former pop superstar Lionel Richie and co-star of FOX's highly anticipated The Simple Life "reality sitcom" series has entered a drug-diversion program after pleading guilty to a felony heroin-possession charge earlier this month.

The heroin charge, which we first reported earlier this year, came after Richie was stopped by police while cruising down the Pacific Coast Highway in her Mercedes-Benz last February. After being stopped, Richie reportedly told the officer that she had forgotten her driver's license. A subsequent search of her wallet revealed that not only was she driving with a suspended license (an additional misdemeanor charge that she also plead guilty to earlier this month) but also a heroin-filled white balloon.

After being released on $10,000 bail in February, Richie skipped her original April 29 court date to take off to Altus, Arkansas for the filming of the FOX series, and a bench warrant was then issued for her arrest. However, despite the warrant, the subsequent intervention of a Hollywood lawyer managed to keep her out of L.A. jails and in Arkansas for the duration of the filming of the reality-TV Green Acres clone.

According to E! Online, on October 8, Richie was sentenced to probation for lack of a valid license and "deferred entry of judgment" for the drug charge, which, according to a spokesperson for Los Angeles' Superior Courthouse, means she has to attend a drug-diversion program. Richie will return to court on December 5, three days after her The Simple Life series debuts on Fox, for a progress report. Richie's time remaining in rehab will be determined at the December 5 court appearance.


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