Heidi Fleiss pleaded guilty to felony drug charges in Pahrump on Tuesday, but the former Hollywood madam will avoid a return trip to prison.
Nye County District Attorney Bob Beckett said Fleiss faces probation but no jail time after pleading guilty to unlawful use of methamphetamine and possession of the painkiller hydrocodone without a prescription.
The charges stem from a Feb. 7, 2008, traffic stop outside a plumbing supply store where Fleiss had gone to buy items for her home in Pahrump.
She was found in possession of six hydrocodone pills for which she had no prescription. A blood test taken after her arrest showed methamphetamine in her system.
She faces three to five years’ probation. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 15.
Beckett said Fleiss probably will be required to submit to random drug tests and might be ordered to seek drug treatment. If she successfully completes the terms of her probation, the two felony convictions will be erased from her record, he said.
“Time will tell if she’s serious about turning her life around,” Beckett said.
Reached by e-mail late Tuesday afternoon, Fleiss said she was in Los Angeles for a television appearance and unavailable to talk.
Beckett described Fleiss as quiet, respectful and “conservatively dressed” when she appeared before Fifth District Court Judge John Davis to enter her pleas Tuesday.
Already a household name for the high-priced prostitution ring she ran in Hollywood in the early 1990s, Fleiss made headlines again in late 2005 when she moved to Pahrump and announced plans for a brothel for women.
She has since abandoned those plans, but she still maintains a home and owns a laundromat called Dirty Laundry in the town of about 39,000 people 60 miles west of Las Vegas.
In an interview with the Review-Journal last year, Fleiss acknowledged having a drug problem but said she planned to start her third stint in rehab in a matter of weeks.
Last month, cable channel VH-1 announced that Fleiss would be entering “treatment” as a paid participant in the reality series “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.” She is slated to appear alongside her ex-boyfriend, troubled actor Tom Sizemore, who was convicted of battering her.
The question is, could Fleiss’ appearance on “Celebrity Rehab” count as her court-ordered drug treatment?
Beckett didn’t rule it out.
“Just because there’s a camera in the room doesn’t mean it’s not legitimate (rehab) or it’s not going to benefit someone,” he said.
Beckett added, however, that a judge would probably balk at allowing someone to profit from an appearance in court-ordered drug treatment.
Fleiss was originally scheduled to participate in “Celebrity Rehab” last year, but her appearance fell through.
At the time, she said she was doing it for the money.