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Noelle Bush given 10 days in jail for contempt


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ORLANDO, Florida (CNN) -- A judge sentenced the daughter of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to 10 days in jail for contempt of court Thursday after she was found with crack cocaine in a drug rehabilitation center.

Noelle Bush, 25, was put in a court-ordered rehabilitation program in February after being arrested on charges that she attempted to use a fake prescription to buy drugs. Before sentencing, Bush said she was sorry for the incident.

"I sincerely apologize for what happened, and I promise to do well at the Center for Drug-Free Living," she told the court.

Circuit Judge Reginald Whitehead found the niece of President Bush in contempt of court and ordered her to spend 10 days in the Orange County jail Thursday.

In a statement, Gov. Bush said "words cannot express the sadness" he and his wife are experiencing.

"Nonetheless, as governor, but most importantly as her father, I know she must face the consequences of her actions."

Gov. Bush said that "every parent of a child with an addiction understands that the long road to recovery is never easy and that there are numerous challenges along the way.

This is a very difficult time for all of us who love her, and Columba and I pray every day our beautiful daughter will once again know a life free from the horrors of substance abuse.

"Our family deeply appreciates the many thoughts and prayers we have received from caring people across our state and nation."

Police had been called to the rehabilitation center in September after they were told Bush was found in possession of "a small white rock substance." Officers field-tested the substance, which was 2 grams, and said it tested positive for cocaine, police said.

A judge refused to compel center employees to testify about the incident, and no charges were filed.

"This situation could have been much worse than what it is. You could have very easily been charged with a new felony offense," Whitehead said. "And if you were charged with that, you would have automatically been put out of drug court and you'd be facing two felony charges."

If Bush completes the drug court program, the fraudulent prescription charge against her will be dropped. In Thursday's hearing, her lawyers noted that Bush has passed all her drug tests and there is no sign that she took drugs while in the rehabilitation program.

It is the second time Bush has been sent to jail for violating the terms of her rehabilitation program. She was given a three-day sentence in July after staff members at the facility accused her of taking prescription pills from a nurse's office.


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