BNL’s frontman avoids jail time
FAYETTEVILLE, N.Y. – Barenaked Ladies frontman Steven Page apologized to his fans, friends and family Tuesday and expressed gratitude to those who secured a deal that will result in an acquittal on drug possession charges as long as he stays out of trouble for six months.
Extensive negotiations between the Onondaga County District Attorney’s office and lawyers for Page, his girlfriend Christine Benedicto and her roommate Stephanie Ford resulted in a “very favourable” deal for the trio, said Judge Thomas Miller.
All three received a so-called “adjournment in contemplation of dismissal” ruling, which means the charges against them will be dismissed in six months time if they aren’t arrested again, receive therapy and pass drug screening, Miller said.
Page, 38, Benedicto and Ford were charged with drug possession in July after police found cocaine at a Fayetteville apartment. Benedicto was 27 at the time of the arrests, while Ford was 25.
After the court hearing, a calm, stern-looking Page read a statement to the media and said he hopes to prove himself to be a productive and law-abiding member of society.
“The respect and responsibility I have earned over the course of my life and my career thus far are important to me and I am moving forward from this with gratitude and with hope,” Page said.
“I also apologize to all of those I have hurt or embarrassed during this episode.”
When asked what he learned from the experience, Page declined to answer any questions.
He also expressed thanks for the support he received in the difficulty times after his arrest went public and the media scrutinized every detail of his case.
Almost a dozen TV cameras from Canadian and American networks were in the small-town court to cover the case on Tuesday.
“It has meant a great deal to me to be shown the impact I have on others’ lives,” he said.
“From people on the street who’ve stopped me to share their support and encouragement, to those friends and loved ones closest to me who’ve opened their homes and their hearts, I am deeply moved and thankful. The greatest gift a person can know is to not go through their life alone and I am fortunate enough to have been afforded that gift.”
Page’s lawyer, Mark Mahoney, said the ruling the co-accuseds received is common in New York state and he’s confident they will escape from the incident with an unblemished record.
“We are very appreciative of the fact the district attorney’s office… was sensitive to the fact that this was simply a charge of possession, everyone has a clean record and the exemplary performance of all the accused since the time of the arrest,” he said.
The deal also means Page will have no problems crossing the border into the United States and his case won’t affect his band’s future, Mahoney added.
Page’s arrest came just months after Barenaked Ladies released an album of children’s music called “Snacktime.”
Police in Fayetteville said the arrests were made after they spotted a suspiciously parked car with its driver-side door open. They knocked on the door of the apartment where the car was parked and were invited inside by Page and Ford.
Ford said in a statement to police filed with the court that she and Page had snorted a white powder she assumed to be cocaine using a rolled-up Canadian bill.
A separate court document says Page told police: “Yeah, it’s cocaine.”
Page pleaded not guilty and on Tuesday, Mahoney said his charges had been reduced from felonies to misdemeanours after laboratory analysis of the white powder revealed it to be a low quantity and quality of cocaine.
After Page’s arrest, Barenaked Ladies cancelled an appearance at a children’s benefit concert organized by Disney in Long Island, N.Y.
Recently, the band announced two concerts for kids and three Christmas-themed shows in Toronto and Ottawa in December.
Born in Toronto, Page met Barenaked Ladies bandmate Ed Robertson in school. In the late 1980s, the pair began performing acoustic sets injected with humour at various university campuses.
They were eventually joined by other band members – including Tyler Stewart, Jim Creeggan and Kevin Hearn.
Their hits have included “If I Had A Million Dollars,” “Brian Wilson” and “The Old Apartment.”
Last year, Page reportedly separated from his wife of almost 15 years. The couple have three children.
So the answer to the question, “Does he have really good lawyers?” is appearantly a big fat “YES!!!!”
BNL’s frontman avoids jail time