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The Nation

Hearing for Gov. Bush's Daughter Is Postponed

September 14, 2002|From Reuters

ORLANDO, Fla. — A court hearing scheduled Friday for Noelle Bush, the daughter of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and a niece of President Bush, was postponed so police can finish investigating a report that she had crack cocaine in her possession while in a drug treatment facility.

Bush, 25, has had several brushes with the law this year concerning drugs and is serving a mandatory term at a rehabilitation center here.

On Monday a resident at the facility tipped police that officials at the Center for Drug Free Living had found a rock of crack cocaine in Bush's shoe.

Police investigated, but a supervisor at the agency told employees not to cooperate, according to a police report. One employee then ripped up a sworn statement she had been writing.

Police said they gathered the torn bits of the statement and have held it as evidence, but since the statement was not completed or signed, they lacked probable cause to arrest Bush, and the matter remains under investigation.

"Upon the conclusion of the criminal investigation, this court will immediately schedule a status hearing to address the alleged violation, and at that time will impose any sanction that is warranted," Florida Judge Reginald Whitehead said in an order released Friday.

Whitehead sent Bush to jail for three days in July after she violated the terms of a drug treatment program.

The treatment was ordered after she was arrested in the capital, Tallahassee, in January for allegedly trying to buy the anti-anxiety drug Xanax using a false prescription.

If Bush is removed from the program, she could face prosecution on that charge, which carries a sentence of as much as five years in prison.

Possession of cocaine, a felony, carries the same possible sentence.

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