Phish principal Trey Anastasio made a surprise court appearance yesterday (Jan. 3) in Whitehall, N.Y., pleading not guilty to a drug possession charge that a prosecutor said could be bumped up to a fe

Phish principal Trey Anastasio made a surprise court appearance yesterday (Jan. 3) in Whitehall, N.Y., pleading not guilty to a drug possession charge that a prosecutor said could be bumped up to a felony.

The 42-year-old artist did not speak to reporters after his brief arraignment on misdemeanor charges of drug possession and driving under the influence of drugs.

Police spotted his car weaving across a rural road early on the morning of Dec. 15. Police said they found quantities of prescription painkillers and an anti-anxiety drug that had not been prescribed for Anastasio.

Washington County district attorney Kevin Kortright said the quantity of pills could lead to a felony drug possession charge and, depending on discussions with Anastasio's lawyers, the case may go to a grand jury.

According to WNYT News in Albany, a quantity of heroin was also found in Anastasio's car, and the artist told police he was smoking hashish and taking pills prior to his arrest. The District Attorney's office refused to comment on that aspect of the case.

Anastasio was not scheduled for arraignment until Jan. 10 and showed up in court unannounced. He is free on his own recognizance and is due back in court Feb. 14.

After his 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."


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