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Tuesday July 31, 2001 02:39 AM EDT
Poundstone Lawyer Hints at Booze Defense
The lawyer for Paula Poundstone suggested the comic's problems with alcohol would factor in her defense against child abuse allegations.
Comedian Paula Poundstone's drinking problem will play a role in her defense against child abuse charges, her lawyer said today.
"Anytime anyone abuses alcohol it clouds their judgment," Poundstone's attorney Steven Cron said after a hearing today in Los Angeles County Superior Court. "I can't discuss the facts of the case, but that's a given."
Cron first revealed Poundstone's drinking problem two weeks after she was arrested on multiple counts of lewd conduct upon a child and child endangerment on June 27. According to the criminal complaint , the 41-year-old comedian is charged with three counts of committing a lewd act on a girl under the age of 14, and endangering four other children two boys and two girls. The lewd acts allegedly occurred May 16 and June 6. The child endangerment charge refers to an incident on June 6.
Since the arrest, Poundstone has been free on $200,000 bond, and has been in a residential treatment program for alcoholism, Cron said.
At today's hearing, Judge Bernard Kamins delayed setting a date for a preliminary hearing until Aug. 27 to give Poundstone's lawyer more time to review and investigate the charges against her. Prosecutors refused to reveal the details of the investigation that led to Poundstone's arrest.
"We just needed more time to investigate and the prosecutors had more information for us," Cron said.
Poundstone has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Though investigators will not reveal the identities of the alleged victims, the Los Angeles Times has reported the cases involves children in Poundstone's care. Poundstone has three adopted children and two foster children. All five have been in the care of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services since Poundstone's arrest.
Before today's hearing, Poundstone briefly greeted approximately two dozen supporters who showed up outside the courthouse. She left through a different exit, leaving Cron to address reporters. At the hearing today, Kamins also gave permission to prosecutors and the defense to hire expert witnesses. After the hearing Cron said his experts could focus on psychiatric, family and other issues.
Poundstone, known for her one-liners about politics and life in general, started her career 21 years ago and has been a frequent guest on late-night talk shows and is a regular panelist on To Tell the Truth , a syndicated game show.
If convicted, she faces a maximum of 13 years and four months in state prison.
Prosecutors have said that the ``lewd acts'' charges against Poundstone all related to a single child, a girl and that the alleged crime took place on May 19, June 5 and June 6.
The charges are filed against defendants accused of ``any type of touching of a child under the age of 14 for a sexual purpose,'' prosecutors said.
The child endangerment charge against Poundstone, who regularly appears on the syndicated game show ``To Tell the Truth,'' involves four other children.
The comedian has a history of advocating on behalf of children, and has long supported children's rights and served as a foster parent for numerous children in the past, most of them abused and abandoned, Cron said.
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