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Tatum O’Neal released after NYC drug bust

Academy Award-winning actress Tatum O’Neal has been arrested after buying crack cocaine near her home in Manhattan, police say.
/ Source: news services

Tatum O’Neal, who has publicly battled drug addiction, was released without bail Monday after her cocaine-possession arrest in downtown Manhattan.

The New York Daily News reported O’Neal was caught buying crack cocaine from a homeless street vendor three blocks from her home.

“I’ve been clean for a long time,” the Daily News reported her as telling police. “Today was the first time I was relapsing, but you guys saved me. Can you let me go?”

The Oscar-winning actress, 44, looked tired but said nothing as she was arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court on a misdemeanor charge of possession of a controlled substance. She entered no plea.

Afterward, her lawyer whisked her into a waiting car. She is due back in court July 28.

O’Neal, daughter of Ryan O’Neal, was 10 when she won an Academy Award for best supporting actress for 1973’s “Paper Moon.” She is the youngest person ever to win an Oscar.

The former child star struggled for years with drug abuse and publicly feuded with both her father and her former husband, John McEnroe. In recent years she has rebuilt her acting career, playing the hard-drinking Maggie Gavin in the FX channel’s “Rescue Me.” The show is now in production for its fifth and sixth seasons.

The producer, Sony Pictures Television, said O’Neal has shot one episode for the upcoming season and is scheduled to appear in several more, but the studio declined to comment further.

O’Neal’s lawyer, Robert Marinelli, declined to comment. Her manager and publicist didn’t immediately return telephone calls after her court appearance, while her agent’s office referred calls to her publicist.

Police found two bags of cocaine in her right front pants pocket when she was arrested around 7:30 p.m. Sunday on the Lower East Side, according to a court complaint. Officers saw O’Neal accept the drug from a man during a routine drug sweep, police said.

Prosecutors are recommending drug treatment for O’Neal, who detailed her dependency on heroin and cocaine in her 2004 memoir, “A Paper Life.” She has since said she is sober.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.