NEW YORK – A former Miss Russia who got into drug trouble in New York is out of jail and headed for a year of inpatient addiction treatment to try to resolve charges of forging prescriptions to get painkillers.
"I feel fantastic, very, very happy," Anna Malova said as she was freed Friday at a Manhattan courthouse after more than a month behind bars. She'd been jailed for repeatedly being hours late to appointments for evaluation for treatment. She was headed Friday to a Bronx drug-treatment program.
"I look forward to getting better," she said, dressed in jeans, a white T-shirt and a dark hooded sweatshirt.
If she succeeds in treatment, the drug charges will be dismissed. If not, she faces trial on them. The top charge against her carries the possibility of up to seven years in prison if she's tried and convicted. A conviction also could mean deportation for Malova, who has lived in the U.S. for more than a decade.
Malova, 39, still faces a separate shoplifting charge. Her lawyer, Robert C. Gottlieb, says that incident also stems from her drug problem.
"She is committed to getting well," Gottlieb said.
A doctor in her native Russia, Malova became a model and moved to the U.S. after being named Miss Russia and finishing in the top 10 in the 1998 Miss Universe pageant.
Malova is charged with filling or trying to fill bogus prescriptions for painkillers at New York pharmacies 14 times, some of them even after arrests in February 2010 and May 2010 and attempts at rehab.
Using prescription pads she had taken from the offices of two psychiatrists — one an addiction specialist — she wrote herself prescriptions for the painkiller Vicodin and the anti-anxiety drug Klonopin, the city Special Narcotics Prosecutor's office said.
A judge approved Malova this week for what's known as court "diversion" to treatment, under a New York law that promotes treatment instead of prison for some nonviolent drug offenders whose crimes are seen as products of their addictions.