Thursday, September 4, 2008

MacKenzie Phillips Busted for Drugs . . . Again.

by Tina Dirmann

I am a true-crime author as well as a Hollywood news reporter. As a result, I usually use this space to combine my expertise and give you updates on whatever is happening with celebrity types who've landed on the wrong side of the law. Usually it involves some A-lister acting bratty (i.e. above the law). Or, at worst, highlighting a jury who let celebrity cloud their judgment, and let someone off the hook, mostly because the person was, you know, famous. . . .

This time, I'm having a little trouble coming down too hard on the notable name in the news this week: MacKenzie Phillips. You remember her, don't you? The lovable eldest daughter on the old sit-com One Day at a Time and daughter to John Phillips, the founding member of the ’60s band the Mamas and the Papas. Her battle with drugs has been long documented in the media. She's talked about it plenty—even credits the problem with her abrupt removal from the popular ’70s show.

"I grew up in mansions," she said years ago in an interview. "But everything was dirty and broken. Very little was going on inside except sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll."

In more recent years, Phillips went on to say that she successfully battled the problem. She's talked plenty, in interviews, promising not to be one of those childhood star statistics—the one who ends up in jail or, worse, deceased. She kicked the habit, she said.

Turns out, sadly, that wasn't exactly true.

Earlier this week, Phillips, 48, was charged with two felonies in connection to a drug bust at Los Angeles International Airport. On August 27, during a screening by a TSA officer, it was uncovered that Phillips had baggies and balloons containing heroine and cocaine, and had unauthorized possession of a syringe.

Yesterday, her high-powered entertainment attorney, Blair Berk (whose laundry list of celebrity clients include Mel Gibson and Lindsay Lohan), packed her up and sent her to rehab. It will be her tenth trip.

The judge in the case has already said in court that he expects to settle with MacKenzie. Now, I'm never one to advocate leniency in the world of criminal justice. But in this case, yeah, the judge is right on. This is a sad woman. A sick woman. Putting her in jail serves no purpose. She's abused drugs nearly three decades. A stint in jail isn't going to change that. I'm not sure what will, in fact. But a hospital bed, rather than a jail cell, feels right.

One other notable here in the world of celebrity crime news . . . albeit, this one really is only notable because of his famous (and infamous) niece. . . . Anyone following the case of Paul Sullivan, uncle to Lindsay Lohan (and brother to her reality star mom, Dina Lohan)?

I only bring it up because of the unbelievably low depths to which he sank to earn a buck. On August 29, Sullivan (pictured right) was sentenced to a year in jail for defrauding the government out of roughly $646,000.

How? He claimed he had a business that suffered
losses in the 9/11 attacks. He didn't. No business at all. Just made it up. But he applied for a small business administration loan, made available to victims of the attacks, and cashed his check.

And you thought Lindsay's tabloid behavior was despicable. . . . I guess she's not quite the black sheep in the family after all.


Leah said...

The sad truth is that there are many, many more people like MacKenzie Phillips that should be in a rehab/hospital rather than prison, but they weren't afforded that opprotunity. This really irritates me.

Anonymous said...

Sad...very sad. I've never been hooked on anything, but I've known many who have, and it's a terrible beast.

Anonymous said...

For all the glitz surrounding her, MacKenzie Phillips, like Tatum O'Neal, had a terrible childhood. Genetic factors are probably at work as well in both of them. That doesn't necessarily excuse them, but perhaps helps to explain their problems.