Noelle Bush sentenced in drug court violation

Fla. governor's daughter is sent to jail for 10 days

October 18, 2002|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

MIAMI - Her hands cuffed behind her back, Noelle Bush, the president's niece, was sent to jail yesterday to serve a 10-day sentence for violating terms of her court-ordered drug rehabilitation program.

Workers at a treatment center in Orlando allegedly found a piece of rock cocaine last month in the heel of a shoe belonging to Bush, 25, the daughter of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

"I sincerely apologize for what happened," Noelle Bush told Circuit Judge Reginald Whitehead before he found her in contempt of court. "I promise to do well at the Center for Drug-Free Living from now on."

Whitehead gave Bush another chance to straighten out her life, noting that she could have faced additional charges in connection with the alleged crack discovery.

Jeb Bush, the Republican governor who is seeking re-election against an increasingly strong Democratic challenger, did not attend the hearing in an Orlando courtroom, saying he did not want to prompt additional news media coverage.

"Words cannot express the sadness that Columba and I feel about what has happened with our daughter Noelle today," he said in a statement, speaking for himself and his wife. "Nonetheless, as governor, but most importantly as her father, I know she must face the consequences of her actions."

In January, Noelle Bush was arrested in Tallahassee on a felony charge that she used a phony prescription to try to purchase Xanax, an anti-anxiety drug. Under Florida's drug court program, she was enrolled at a rehabilitation center and must complete the program to avoid prosecution on the prescription forgery charge.

That requirement, though, did not prevent an incident of backsliding in July, when Bush was sent to jail for three days after she was found with an unauthorized prescription drug.

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