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Lawyer: Boy
George to fight drug charges

Lawyer: Boy
George to fight drug charges

Singer Boy George is innocent and will fight the drug possession charges he faces in New York, which could result in 15 years in prison if he is convicted, his lawyer said on Wednesday. George, wearing a full-length coat, appeared in Manhattan criminal court on Wednesday to answer charges stemming from an October incident when police, responding to his call to report a burglary, found 13 bags of cocaine in his apartment. The case was adjourned until March 8 after the singer's lawyer, Lou Freeman, asked for more time to prepare his case. No plea was entered during the brief hearing.

"In the strongest possible terms, George maintains his innocence," Freeman told Reuters after the hearing. "He's going to fight them all the way." George left the court without talking with reporters, stopping briefly to hug two female fans who waited outside the courthouse to show support.

George, who made his name in the 1980s as front man for the pop band Culture Club, was arrested on October 7. The singer, whose real name is George O'Dowd, is also charged with filing a false report with police.

Freeman said the singer does not know where the drugs came from or who owned them and that he is a very social person who has many visitors to his home. The felony complaint charges the singer with one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance and says the substances found weighed more than one eighth of an ounce (3.5 grams).

George's musical Taboo closed in New York in 2004 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. Later, he made a new career as a DJ and record producer. Freeman said George is now working on developing his own line of clothing. (Jeanne King, Reuters)

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