Robert Downey Jr. Pleads Innocent to Pair of Drug Charges

In a quick and matter-of-fact appearance before a judge, Ally McBeal actor and Golden Globe nominee Robert Downey Jr. pleaded innocent to another round of drug charges Wednesday.

The 35-year-old actor is charged with felony possession of cocaine and felony possession of the tranquilizer diazepam, each of which could get him up to three years in state prison.

In addition, Downey pleaded innocent to a misdemeanor charge of being under the influence of a controlled substance, which carries a maximum one-year jail sentence. He also pleaded innocent to an additional year in prison for his prior drug conviction.

Downey was arrested Thanksgiving weekend at a California desert resort, only four months after he had been released from prison in another drug case. An anonymous 911 call led police investigators to a room at Merv Griffin's Resort Hotel and Givenchy Spa. The police allegedly found Downey with cocaine and methamphetamine.

"He's a recovering addict. Recovering addicts have relapses," publicist Alan Nierob said after Downey's Nov. 25 arrest. "He's working hard at his sobriety as he has for the last 18 months."

Another Paparazzi-Ringed Drug Hearing

The Oscar-nominated star of Chaplin eluded a media throng outside the courthouse 130 miles east of Los Angeles by entering through a side door.

During the brief arraignment before Superior Court Judge B.J. Bjork, Downey let his lawyer, Daniel Brookman, enter the pleas on his behalf.

Asked at one point if he understood his constitutional rights, Downey replied, "Yes, your honor."

In a 1999 court appearance in Malibu, the son of Putney Swope director Robert Downey described his addictions in life-and-death terms.

"It's like I've got a shotgun in my mouth, with my finger on the trigger, and I like the taste of the gun metal," Downey told the judge.

Another hearing was scheduled for Jan. 29.

The Associated Press contributed to this report