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Noelle Bush Returns to Rehab Center

July 20, 2002|From Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. — Gov. Jeb Bush's daughter, Noelle, was allowed to return to a drug rehabilitation center Friday, two days after being jailed for allegedly taking prescription pills from a nurse's cabinet.

"I would not allow you to go back to the facility if I didn't think you could do the program," Circuit Judge Reginald Whitehead said in giving President Bush's niece a second chance.

"You're very intelligent; you have the support there," he said. "You just need to work on the decisions that you're making, and I know that you can do it."

Bush, 24, accompanied by her brother George P. Bush and her attorney, Pete Antonacci, said nothing in her defense during the two-minute hearing.

"She's definitely remorseful with what happened," her brother said. "She recognizes her errors, that she's not perfect and that she made a mistake."

Bush was jailed Wednesday for contempt of court for allegedly violating her court-ordered drug treatment program. She was accused of taking the pills from a cabinet at the rehab center.

Antonacci said he didn't know what kind of pills they were.

Whitehead sent Bush to jail for three days. Jail spokesman Allen Moore said any part of a day was counted as an entire day.

Bush was arrested in January at a pharmacy drive-through window after allegedly trying to buy the anti-anxiety drug Xanax with a fraudulent prescription. She was admitted to the treatment center a month later, with the possibility that charges would be dropped if she completed the program.

The governor was allowed to briefly visit his daughter in jail Wednesday, even though visits are usually limited to weekends.

"She realized there are consequences to her actions and that she has to pay a price," he said. "I respect the judge's decision."

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