Skip to main content

Sly Stone's cocaine charge is 'highly defensible,' lawyer says

By Alan Duke, CNN
On Wednesday, Sly Stone entered a not guilty plea to a cocaine possession charge.
On Wednesday, Sly Stone entered a not guilty plea to a cocaine possession charge.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The 68-year-old musician pleads not guilty in court Wednesday
  • Stone was charged with cocaine possession in April
  • Police say they found cocaine in the lining of a coat
  • Defense lawyers say the coat was too big to be Sly's

Los Angeles (CNN) -- Funk music legend Sly Stone entered a not guilty plea to a cocaine possession charge in a Los Angeles County court Wednesday, his lawyer said.

Stone, 68, was arrested April 1 after police found what they say was cocaine in the "lining of a coat, not in a pocket, not in an accessible area," defense lawyer James E. Silverstein said Wednesday.

The case would never have been filed if investigators had saved "the rather large coat," because it would have been clear that it did not belong to Stone, whose real name is Sylvester Stewart, Silverstein said.

"Mr. Stewart is a slender man," he said. "He was not wearing the coat."

Silverstein and co-counsel Peter Knecht called the case "highly defensible."

"We do not believe the district attorney can satisfy the necessary elements of cocaine possession, in particular with regards to whether Mr. Stewart had knowledge of whether there were any narcotics present," Silverstein said.

Stone returns to the Van Nuys, California, courthouse July 19 for a pre-trial hearing, he said.

Stone's groundbreaking group, Sly and the Family Stone, blended funk, rock, soul and psychedelic sounds in the 1960s and '70s before he mostly disappeared from the scene in the '80s. Stone occasionally drops in to Los Angeles clubs to perform, especially with his daughter, Novena Carmel.