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Actress McGowan pleads no contest to misdemeanor drug charge

January 14, 2019

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) — Actress Rose McGowan pleaded no contest Monday to a misdemeanor drug charge in Virginia after cocaine was found in a wallet she left behind at Dulles International Airport two years ago.

Court records show she received a $2,500 fine and a suspended jail sentence at a Circuit Court hearing in Leesburg. The sentence was first reported by WTOP-FM. She told the station she entered the plea because she “just wanted it to be over.”

Last year, McGowan’s lawyers suggested the drugs were planted in retaliation for accusing Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault.

McGowan was initially charged with a felony that could have carried jail time, but the plea deal reduced the charge to a misdemeanor.

Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul Ebert, who was appointed to prosecute the case after Loudoun County prosecutor James Plowman recused himself, said the $2,500 fine and suspended jail term is a typical sentence for a first-time offender caught with a small amount of drugs.

McGowan’s lawyer, James Hundley, declined comment Monday beyond a statement he issued last week, in which he outlined McGowan’s intention to plead no contest.

While McGowan’s lawyers suggested at various times that the drugs may have been planted, they presented no evidence to back up the claim. Instead, they simply argued that several hours elapsed between the time McGowan left the plane and it was found by a cleaning crew in the first-class section of a United Airlines cabin. They said it was impossible to account for who may have handled the wallet during that time.

At a pretrial hearing last year, detective Jarrod Hughes testified at the hearing that he called McGowan to inform her that her wallet had been found. He said McGowan asked if she could pick it up at the airport’s baggage claim. When he informed McGowan she would have to pick it up at the police station, she said she would come by to get it but never did, the detective testified.

McGowan’s plea hearing was initially scheduled for Tuesday, but was moved up to Monday at the judge’s request, Ebert said.

Weinstein, 66, has now been accused by dozens of women and is facing criminal charges in New York. He denies accusations of nonconsensual sex.

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