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Rocker Trey Anastasio pleads guilty, avoids jail in drug case

FORT EDWARD, N.Y. --Former Phish rocker Trey Anastasio pleaded guilty Friday to a felony drug charge, avoiding jail time under an agreement that calls for him to participate in a drug court program and drops more serious charges.

Anastasio, 42, pleaded guilty to attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance, admitting in court that he was in possession of Vicodin, Percocet, heroin and Xanax when he was pulled over for a traffic stop.

Under the drug court program, Anastasio will have to spend 12 to 15 months making weekly court appearances. He will also be subject to drug testing and will have to perform community service.

"He's accepted responsibility," said Washington County District Attorney Kevin Kortright. "That's all we can ask for."

Judge Kelly S. McKeighan postponed sentencing until Anastasio completes the program. If he is successful, he will get five years probation. If he is not, he could get three years in prison.

"He's committed to this," said defense attorney Stephen Coffey. "He was wrong. He's admitted he was wrong."

Coffey and Kortright said Anastasio got no special treatment because of his fame.

"I don't think it helped him. I don't think it hurt him," said Coffey. He said Anastasio gets treatment daily and is attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

Anastasio didn't talk to reporters as he walked out of the courthouse, getting into a black van and leaving.

Anastasio, who has been performing solo since Phish broke up in 2004, now lives in New York City but plans to move to the Fort Edward area while he is participating in the drug court program, according to Coffey.

While Anastasio was with Phish, the band performed three times before crowds of 60,000 to 70,000 at a former Air Force base in Limestone, temporarily turning it into Maine's largest city. Concerts were held in Maine in 1997, 1998 and 2003.

On Dec. 15, 2006, Anastasio was spotted weaving on U.S. 4 and pulled over by police in Whitehall. He failed a roadside sobriety test and was charged with possession of a prescription painkiller that belonged to another person, driving under the influence of drugs and driving under the influence of alcohol, which are all felonies.

He also was charged with possession of heroin, possession of an anti-anxiety drug prescribed to someone else, and possession of a second prescription painkiller belonging to another person, which are misdemeanors.

After the arrest, Anastasio issued a written statement saying he felt "terrible about what happened last night, and I am deeply sorry for any embarrassment I have caused my friends, family and fans."