James Brown Sentenced To Drug Treatment Program

Guilty of firearms charges, Godfather of Soul faces possible two-year prison term if he doesn't go to rehab.

"Godfather of Soul" James Brown did not start this year, as he himself

might say, "on the good foot."

On Friday, after pleading no contest to firearms charges filed in January,

the 64-year-old singer was sentenced to complete a drug treatment program

or face two years behind bars.

Brown -- the singer of such landmark soul hits as "I Got You (I

Feel Good)" and "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag," along with anti-drug tracks

such as "King Heroin" -- was charged with discharging a rifle while under

the influence of drugs or alcohol at his Beech Island, S.C., home in January. Last

week, in addition to the drug treatment mandate, he was handed a two-year

suspended sentence, along with a $500 fine, plus $600 in court costs.

"He has to complete a 90-day, outpatient drug-treatment program," said

Lawrence Brown (no relation), a solicitor with the Aiken County, S.C.,

prosecutor's office. "If he does not complete the program in six months,

then the two-year prison sentence can be imposed on him."

Jack Bart, James Brown's agent with Universal Attractions, had no comment

on the sentence.

Brown was arrested on Jan. 27, less than a week after he had been

discharged from a hospital where he was undergoing treatment for an

addiction to painkillers. He was admitted to the hospital under Probate

Court order, after family members became concerned for his health.

It was when Aiken County deputies arrived at Brown's house to take him to the

hospital that they discovered the evidence that led to Friday's sentence.

"They found rifles in the residence with expended cartridges, which

supported what they had been told -- that he had been discharging firearms

in the residence," solicitor Brown said. "When he was taken to the

hospital, they found drugs in his system."

As part of the county's negotiations with the singer, the prosecutor will

not disclose what drugs Brown had been taking.

Brown was also charged in January with simple possession (less than one ounce) of

marijuana, to which he pleaded guilty at an earlier court date.