"Simple Life" Star Faces Heroin Rap

Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie

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"Simple Life" Star Faces Heroin Rap

[Editor's note: In the six years The Smoking Gun has been around, we have never mentioned either of the Hilton sisters. Today our estimable streak comes to an end.]

MAY 9--In another example of reality being more interesting than reality TV, one of the stars of Fox's upcoming show "The Simple Life"--which relocates a pair of spoiled celebutantes to an Arkansas farm--is facing a felony heroin charge.

The six-episode series, which began filming last week, features the rural antics of 22-year-old Paris Hilton and the hotel heiress's sidekick, Nicole Richie, the 21-year-old daughter of singer Lionel Richie. Days before Richie departed for Altus, Arkansas (pop. 817), she was named in an April 24 Los Angeles Superior Court criminal complaint charging her with felony possession of heroin (and a misdemeanor charge of driving with a suspended or revoked license).

The charges stem from Richie's February 27 arrest in Malibu by L.A. sheriff's deputies. After spending five hours in custody, the 5' 2", 90-pound woman was released on $10,000 bail.

But after she was formally charged in a felony complaint, Richie failed to appear for her April 29 arraignment. A judge then ordered her bail forfeited and issued a warrant for Richie's arrest. Two days later, when Richie's lawyer appeared at the Malibu courthouse, the arrest order was rescinded and her arraignment was rescheduled for June 6.

By then, she will have returned from her month-long stay in the Ozarks, where Fox's reverse Beverly Hillbillies follows Hilton and Richie as they do farm chores, pump gas, and sling sandwiches at the Lakeside Foodmart. (3 pages)