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Michael English Avoids Jail

04:00 PM Friday 10/6/00 |   |

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ Contemporary Christian singer Michael English was sentenced tothree years' probation October 6 for illegally obtaining prescription painkillers. Criminal Court Judge Randall Wyatt also sentenced him to 200 hours of community service.

English, 38, pleaded guilty August 31 to 12 counts of fraudulently obtaining a prescription painkiller similar to codeine. He faced a maximum sentence of 48 years in jail and a fine of up to $120,000.

The singer's troubles began when he admitted to an adulterous affair with a backup singer in 1994. Because of the scandal, he returned six Gospel Music Association trophies the night after winning them.

English says rejection by the Christian music community is in part what led him to drugs. He got hooked on hydrocodone after getting a prescription to relieve pain from a back operation. He took some leftover pills to fight flu symptoms and gradually developed an addiction.

At the worst, he was seeing multiple doctors to get ever-increasing doses of the drug.

He says he had stopped doing that and was on his way to kicking the habit when someoneinformed police about his multiple prescriptions, and he was arrested.

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