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Singer Boy George faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted on charges of drug possession, while his lawyer said Tuesday the flamboyant entertainer has no idea how 13 plastic bags of cocaine got into his New York City apartment. George, who made his name in the 1980s as front man for the pop band Culture Club, was arrested on Friday when police, responding to his call to report a burglary, recovered 13 plastic bags containing cocaine, according to the complaint released Tuesday by the Manhattan district attorney. The singer, whose real name is George O'Dowd, is also charged with filing a false report with police.
His lawyer, Lou Freeman, said the singer--who was arraigned early on Saturday--does not know where the drugs came from or who owned them. "He's a very social person. He has a lot of people over to his apartment," Freeman said of his client.
The felony complaint charges the singer with one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance and claims the substances found weighed more than one eighth of an ounce. "That is a sizable amount of drugs," said Maggie Gandasegui of the Special Narcotics Prosecutors office.
George was released on Saturday and ordered to return to Manhattan criminal court for a December 19 hearing. Since his passport was not seized, he was permitted to fly to London on Saturday. Should he fail to show up for the December hearing, a New York judge can issue a bench warrant for his arrest.
George's musical, Taboo, closed in New York City last year after losing money. The musical was an autobiographical look at a time when flamboyant cross-dressers reigned in London clubs and Culture Club topped pop charts around the world. The son of an Irish builder, George rose from supermarket shelf stocker to glitzy pop millionaire. He became an international star in 1982 with "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?" The song topped the charts in 18 countries, and Culture Club went on to sell almost 20 million albums. In 1995 George recounted his drug-induced fall from grace and how he had finally kicked his heroin habit in his autobiography, Take It Like a Man. In recent years he made a new career as a disc jockey and record producer. (Jeanne King, via Reuters)