Robert Downey Jr., 35, pleaded not guilty in an Indio, Calif., courtroom yesterday morning in his arraignment on drug charges stemming from his Nov. 25 arrest in Palm Springs. During the brief hearing before Superior Court judge B.J. Bjork, one of Downey's lawyers, Daniel Brookman, sought a continuance of Downey's arraignment, according to reports filed by the Associated Press and Reuters. But Judge Bjork refused the request and ordered that the plaintiff's plea be entered immediately. Downey, dressed entirely in black, reportedly hardly spoke during the proceedings but did acknowledge before the bench that he understood his constitutional rights. It was Brookman who entered the plea of not guilty on Downey's request. Another hearing has been scheduled for Jan. 29. Downey is charged with felony possession of cocaine, felony possession of the prescription sedative diazepam (also known as Valium) and a misdemeanor count of being under the influence of a controlled substance. If convicted, Downey faces a maximum of six years in a state penitentiary on the felony counts, a year in jail on the misdemeanor, and a possible extra year behind bars because of a previous felony conviction.
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