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Al Gore III pleads guilty to O.C. drug charges

Case may be dismissed if he completes a drug rehabilitation program for first-time offenders.

July 31, 2007|Christine Hanley | Times Staff Writer

Former Vice President Al Gore's son pleaded guilty Monday to possessing marijuana and other drugs when he was caught speeding this month in south Orange County.

The entire case could be dismissed once he completes a drug rehabilitation program offered to first-time offenders.

Al Gore III, who has been receiving treatment for his addictions at an undisclosed location since his arrest, had not been scheduled to be arraigned until Wednesday.

He entered his plea with little fanfare at a Laguna Niguel courthouse during a brief hearing that the media was not informed about until the last minute.

Gore's attorney, Al Stokke, said he is "doing just fine" and is "very committed" to his treatment. Gore's parents and other family members were not in court but had traveled to Orange County to support him.

"They are very much involved in the process as well," Stokke said. "They've been here all weekend."

Gore, 24, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of drug possession, two misdemeanor counts of drug possession without a prescription and one misdemeanor count of marijuana possession.

The plea could be withdrawn and the charges dropped in 18 months if he successfully completes treatment and stays out of trouble.

Stokke said his client didn't ask for or receive any special treatment, and that he had voluntarily admitted himself to a program that requires patients to be treated for a minimum of 90 days.

"What he's doing is probably 100 times ... more than the state requirement," he said.

Gore was driving a 2006 Toyota Prius about 100 mph July 4 on the 5 Freeway in Laguna Niguel. Sheriff's deputies who stopped him said they discovered less than an ounce of marijuana and medications for which he did not have prescriptions, including Xanax, Valium and Vicodin.

Gore is the youngest of Tipper and Al Gore's four children. He was arrested in 2003 on suspicion of marijuana possession while a student at Harvard University. He completed substance-abuse counseling as part of a program to settle the charge and was not convicted of a crime.

He now lives in Los Angeles, where he is an associate publisher of Good, a philanthropy magazine aimed at young people.

christine.hanley@latimes.com

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