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Musician Billy Preston Pleads No Contest to Assault and Drug Charges

September 5, 1992 GMT

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) _ Musician Billy Preston pleaded no contest Friday to cocaine and assault charges stemming from incidents in August 1991 involving a teen-age boy and a man he hired to work at his home.

Sex charges filed in connection with both of the cases will be dismissed when Preston is sentenced Oct. 16, said Deputy District Attorney Loni Petersen.

Preston, 45, could be sentenced to a maximum of four years and eight months in prison.

He is also due in court Sept. 11 to admit a violation of his probation in a 1990 drunken driving case, Petersen said. The maximum jail term in that case is six months.

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The felony cocaine possession charge stemmed from Preston’s arrest for investigation of sexual assault on a 16-year-old boy police said he picked up at a spot where day laborers congregate.

The youth told authorities Preston took him to his Malibu home, smoked cocaine, showed him pornographic pictures and tried to assault him before he escaped.

The felony count of assault with a deadly weapon involved a man Preston picked up to do work at his home on Aug. 17, 1991, the day before his arrest in the case involving the boy.

Charges Petersen said will be dropped in the incident involving the teen- ager include additional drug counts and misdemeanor charges of child molestation and exhibiting pornographic material to a minor.

Related charges in the adult case that will be dropped include false imprisonment and sexual battery.

Preston, a singer, keyboard player and songwriter, has performed with the Beatles, Little Richard, Ray Charles and the Rolling Stones. He has also recorded such hit songs of his own as ″Will It Go Round in Circles?″ and ″Nothing from Nothing.″