Nelson needn't sing in court, says judge

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The Independent US

The suggestion that the country singer Willie Nelson would have to sing in court to avoid being jailed on a drug charge was just a joke that got out of hand, a Texas judge has said.

Hudspeth County attorney Kit Bramblett said this week that Nelson, pictured, could resolve the charge by pleading guilty, paying a fine and singing "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" for the court. Mr Bramblett said Judge Becky Dean-Walker demanded that Nelson appear in person, rather than pleading by mail. He also said she was a particular fan of the track. But Ms Dean-Walker said she thought the prosecutor was trying to be funny "and it got out of hand". She said Nelson could plead guilty without coming to court and singing.

The 77-year-old singer was arrested last November at a border checkpoint in Sierra Blanca, West Texas. His tour bus was crossing the Mexican border into Hudspeth County on its way to Los Angeles when officers smelled cannabis and found a small amount of it inside the bus.

Nelson, who has been at the forefront of the campaign to legalise marijuana in the United States, has been ordered to pay $378 (£236) in fines and court fees.

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