Originally created 03/09/06

People in the News

NEW YORK - Boy George, in a plea bargain deal that spared him possible jail time, agreed to enter a drug rehabilitation program and perform community service to resolve his arrest last year on a cocaine charge.

The former pop star, whose real name is George O'Dowd, entered his guilty plea Wednesday in Manhattan Criminal Court to third-degree false reporting of an incident. He only spoke to answer questions from Judge Anthony Ferrara with a simple "yes."

Under the deal, O'Dowd will enter a drug program in England and perform five days of community service in Manhattan. He will pay a $1,000 fine and must avoid arrest on any charges over the next six months.

"I am relieved and happy that this case has been disposed of, and would like to thank the judge, the district attorney and my attorney, Lou Freeman, for the fair and speedy way it was dealt with," O'Dowd, 44, said in a statement distributed to reporters by his manager. "I love New York, and am looking forward to coming back and working in the states later this year."

It was signed, "George."

He must return to court June 9 with written proof of his stay in a rehabilitation program. O'Dowd had a previous drug history, including a 1986 heroin possession arrest after two of his friends overdosed. O'Dowd entered a rehab program at that point.

His drug woes reportedly led to the collapse of the Culture Club, which had the hit singles "Karma Chameleon" and "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?"

O'Dowd will return to England and enter the Clouds House rehabilitation facility, his manager, Jeremy Pearce, said. If convicted at trial on the drug possession charge, O'Dowd faced a possible sentence of one to 5 1/2 years, said Barbara Thompson, spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney.

He was arrested Oct. 7, 2005, after he called 911 to report an alleged burglary in his Manhattan apartment. Officers found a small pile of cocaine next to a computer. A charge of criminal possession of a controlled substance was dropped as part of the plea bargain.

If O'Dowd had gone to trial on the false reporting charge and had been convicted, he could have spent up to a year in prison.


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TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) - Sharon Stone is ready to do her part for Mideast peace: The "Basic Instinct" actress said she "would kiss just about anybody" to end the Israel-Arab conflict.

She arrived in Israel on Tuesday for a five-day trip sponsored by the Peres Center for Peace, founded by Nobel Peace laureate Shimon Peres in 1996 to improve relations with Arabs. It's her first visit to the Holy Land.

Stone, joined by Peres at a news conference, said she couldn't solve the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, but could use her fame to help encourage peace efforts.

"I would kiss just about anybody for peace in the Middle East," she said Wednesday, drawing laughter from a throng of Israeli reporters. Stone playfully turned down calls to give Peres a peck on the cheek.

Noting it was International Women's Day, Stone suggested that more women become involved in the male-dominated world of Mideast peace talks. Women consider thoughts and feelings more than men, she said.

"I think (men and women) need to be a team. We were meant to be a team," she said.

During her visit, Stone planned to play soccer with a mixed group of Israeli and Palestinian children, visit Israeli hospitals that care for Palestinian children and celebrate her 48th birthday Friday with a gala to raise funds for children's educational and health projects.


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LONDON (AP) - Pete Doherty, the lead singer of Babyshambles, breezed through a review of his sentence for possessing hard drugs, despite twice failing drug tests last month.

"You're doing quite well but you need to keep it up," Magistrate Jane McIvor told the 26-year-old rocker Wednesday. "I will see you in five weeks."

On Feb. 8, Doherty, who rose to fame with The Libertines, was sentenced to 12 months of community service and ordered to undergo a drug rehabilitation program. He was warned that he could be sent to jail if he didn't comply with the rehab order.

During his brief appearance in Thames Magistrates Court, there was no mention of his Feb. 27 arrest in Birmingham on suspicion of car theft and possessing hard drugs, nor of the additional drug charges lodged against him Tuesday by police in London.

Doherty, clad in a suit, navy sweater, button-down white shirt and white shoes and clutching a black fedora, briefly hugged fans assembled outside the east London court and joked with reporters about his recent troubles. Upon leaving court, he quickly lit a cigarette and hurried to a waiting car.

The Babyshambles singer, who is the ex-boyfriend of supermodel Kate Moss, appeared restless during his brief court appearance Wednesday morning and, while listening to McIvor's instructions, frequently placed his hands behind his head and moved around in apparent frustration.

McIvor did offer Doherty good news, however - calling his improvement "remarkable" and adding that his "determination is increasing."

Outside court, Doherty's lawyer, Sean Curran, said the rocker had tested positive for drugs on Feb. 23 and Feb. 28. Curran gave no details of the tests.

It was mentioned in court that Doherty had undergone tests, but there was no reference to testing positive.

Outside court, a reporter asked Doherty whether he would quit using drugs.

"What? Them? Sure, I'll do that," Doherty said.

He was released on bail in the Birmingham incident, and so far has not been charged, West Midlands Police said Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Doherty was hit with seven further charges of possessing crack cocaine and heroin, related to incidents in December and January. He was due back in court Thursday to answer those charges.

Metropolitan Police charged Doherty with possessing heroin, crack cocaine, marijuana and hashish when he was arrested on Dec. 18 and with possessing heroin, cocaine and marijuana when he was arrested on Jan. 14.


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