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May 25, 2013

Actress Bynes accused of bong toss out NYC window

NEW YORK (AP) — Actress Amanda Bynes appeared disheveled in a long blond wig and sweats Friday in a criminal court where she was charged with reckless endangerment after police said she heaved a marijuana bong out the window of her 36th-floor Manhattan apartment.

The 27-year-old former child star was arrested Thursday evening, after building officials at her midtown apartment called police to complain she was rolling a joint and smoking pot in the lobby.

The officers went to her apartment where they said they saw heavy smoke and a bong sitting on the kitchen counter. They said she tossed the bong out the window in front of them, prosecutors said.  

She then said to police: “It was just a vase,” according to Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Chikaelo Ibeabuchi.

“My client completely denies illegally throwing anything out of her window,” said Andrew Friedman, her attorney for the arraignment.

The judge released her on her own recognizance and gave her a July 9 court date.

On Thursday, Bynes was held overnight at a police precinct. She pulled up to court Friday morning in a squad car where she was greeted by a crush of media. She was also charged with attempted tampering with evidence and unlawful possession of marijuana, all misdemeanors.

“I’m asking you I don’t want any pictures,” she said to a photographer.

“I don’t want any photos. No press are allowed in here,” she announced to the public courtroom.

Bynes rose to fame starring in Nickelodeon’s “All That” and has also starred in several films, including 2010’s “Easy A.” But she has been in the news more recently because of several scrapes with the law and bizarre public behavior.  

Her lawyer said she had no record in New York, but the judge noted she had several out-of-state cases. In California in December, the former “Hairspray” star resolved a misdemeanor hit-and-run case after entering into a civil settlement with other drivers.

Also in California, she was charged last fall with driving on a suspended license after it was temporarily taken away from her following two hit-and-run cases where she was accused of leaving the scene without providing proper information. She has also pleaded not guilty to drunken driving in a separate case.

In releasing her, Chief New York County Judge Neil Ross gave her a stern warning not to make trouble or miss any court dates.

“I do want to make sure you understand,” he said. “If you get arrested again ... I’m going to be setting very, very significant bail.”

“OK,” she replied.

“You’re in a very, very challenging situation right now,” he said.

Prosecutors had asked for $1,000 bail. Ibeabuchi said no bong was recovered from the street below — a sign, her attorney said, that Bynes was telling the truth.

“There was nothing recovered from the sidewalk, clearly a search was made for the bag,” said Friedman of the New York County Defender Services. He said she was followed illegally into her apartment and has made a complaint about police wrongfully entering.

As the judge dispensed with her case, she said, “Thank you sir, have a nice day.”  

The star then got into a waiting yellow cab ringed with photographers and TV cameras and left.

 

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