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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.

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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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