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Downey gets 3 yr. prison term for parole violations

Thesp failed 7 court-ordered drug rehabs, judge sez

Robert Downey Jr. was saddled Thursday with a three-year prison sentence for violating probation, but the actor’s career still breathes life, at least until the end of the year.

All of Downey’s current projects have wrapped and are close to release. The promotional blitz for “Bowfinger,” which opens Aug. 16, will unfold as scheduled because Downey “just had a cameo role and was not crucial to the campaign anyway,” said a source inside Universal. “There’s going to be no change whatsover.”

Paramount’s “Wonder Boys,” starring Michael Douglas and directed by “L.A. Confidential” helmer Curtis Hanson, has also wrapped. An end-of-year release has been planned.

Municipal Court Judge Lawrence Mira said the actor has failed at seven court-ordered drug rehabilitation programs since his 1996 arrest. He handed Downey a three-year prison term minus 201 days for time already served.

Since his arrest in June for a drug-use probation violation, Downey has not officially considered any further job offers, said his publicist, Alan Nierob of Rogers and Cowan, because “his fate has been undetermined.”

He was considered for starring roles in an untitled Mark Kostabi biopic and in Nick Cassavetes’ “Unless That Someone Is You,” opposite Courtney Love.

About a month ago, Downey was bounced off Carsey-Werner’s animated series, “God, the Devil and Bob.” He had voiced the Devil.

Writers and Artists agent Joan Scott is convinced that because Downey is “brilliantly talented, the industry will rally to his side. I’m sure that he’ll work when he comes out.”

Scott also quipped, “There’s a lot of people in this industry on drugs who just don’t get caught.”

Downey’s attorney Robert Shapiro was outraged at the three-year sentence, and told Daily Variety, “I don’t know of any case where someone freely admitted to violating probation and still got the maximum sentence.” Shapiro emphasized that “two psychiatrists even agreed that he was recovering.”

Before the judge’s final decision Thursday, the actor had most recently served 45 days in Impact, an in-custody drug treatment program.

Where Downey will serve his prison time will be determined by the director of the state Department of Corrections sometime next month.

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