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Downey rejects offer; court date set


LOS ANGELES -- Actor Robert Downey Jr. must face felony drug charges next month after he and prosecutors failed to reach a settlement regarding felony drug charges, his lawyer said Thursday.

Superior Court Judge B.J. Bjork, who had twice postponed hearings in the case so that Downey's lawyers could negotiate with prosecutors, ordered the actor back to court on April 30 for a preliminary hearing in the case.

Bjork will decide after the preliminary hearing if there is enough evidence to make Downey stand trial after his arrest, when he was charged with possessing cocaine and the prescription drug Valium.

He was arrested November 25 at a Palm Springs resort hotel after police received an anonymous tip.

Robert Downey's appearance in court on January 29

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Downey's arrest came just three months after the Oscar-nominated star of "Chaplin" was released from a California prison, where he spent a year for drug charges.

Downey refused to accept a plea offer late Wednesday, according to his attorney Daniel Brookman. "New evidence has come to light and until our independent testing is complete, the case cannot be resolved," Brookman said.

Outside court, Brookman indicated to reporters that talks broke down because prosecutors were insisting that the actor spend time either in jail or a lock-down facility.

"They have made an offer that does call for some sort of restraint on Mr. Downey's freedom," Brookman said.

In the past, lawyers for Downey have said they were trying to broker a deal that would let the actor -- who won a Screen Actor's Guild award earlier this week as best supporting actor in a television series for his role in "Ally McBeal" -- continue to work.

"Mr. Downey is engaged in a very closely structured treatment and rehabilitative program," he said. "He's not out there in the wind."

Downey, who was not present in court Thursday, faces four years and eight months in state prison if convicted on all three counts. He is free on $15,000 bond.

He entered a plea of not guilty to the drug charges in January.

He was released from state prison in August after serving time for violating his probation on drug-related offenses.

He was hired as a recurring guest star on "Ally McBeal," playing the love interest of star Calista Flockhart's title character, just one week after his release from prison.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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