Cee Lo Green, musical artist and celebrity coach on NBC’s talent show series The Voice, entered a not-guilty plea in court on Monday to charges that he allegedly furnished the drug MDMA (ecstasy) to a woman in a Los Angeles restaurant last year, Billboard reports. While it’s a felony charge carrying a possible sentence of four years in prison, it is a step down from an earlier charge of sexual assault, which was dropped due to insufficient evidence.
The charges in question stem from an alleged encounter in a Los Angeles sushi restaurant in July 2012, during which an unnamed woman claims Green, 38, spiked her drink with ecstasy. The woman told police her next memory was waking up naked in a hotel room bed next to Green.
Rumors have swirled around the alleged incident for months as the case has processed through the courts. As early as last November, Green vehemently denied the accusations of sexual assault as “despicable, untrue and deeply hurtful.” Additional rumors (as reported at different times by gossip site TMZ) include the possibility of a secret tape recording in which Green mentioned MDMA and apologized to the woman in question. It has also been purported that the woman had been involved with Cee Lo Green for several months prior to the alleged incident.
Green’s attorney Blair Berk issued a written statement: “We are pleased that the Los Angeles County District Attorney has completed its investigation and concluded that the evidence did not support the false and unfounded claims made over a year ago. Mr. Green encouraged a full and complete investigation of those claims and he was confident once conducted he would be cleared of having any wrongful intent and it would be established that any relations were consensual.”
After determining that there was not enough evidence to warrant a charge of sexual assault, prosecutors decided to move forward with the lesser charge of furnishing a controlled substance. The attorney said Green would address the charge “responsibly” in court.
TMZ reports that Green’s role with NBC’s The Voice is not currently in jeopardy.