Drug arrest for 'West Wing' creator Aaron Sorkin

Tuesday, April 17th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The creator of the Emmy-winning drama ``The West Wing,'' who has acknowledged a drug problem, was freed on bail after being arrested for investigation of possessing illegal hallucinogenic mushrooms.

Aaron Sorkin, 39, was arrested Sunday at Burbank Airport after security officers found a small bag in his carry-on luggage containing paper bundles filled with what was believed to be the mushrooms, said Victor Gill, an airport spokesman.

He was sober and cooperative, but fainted briefly after officers approached him, Gill said. He declined medical help.

Sorkin, who has acknowledged a cocaine addiction for which he sought treatment in 1995, was arrested on suspicion of possessing a controlled substance, said airport police Sgt. Tom Davenport.

He was booked and later released on $10,000 bail. Arraignment was set for April 30.

Sorkin, who had been traveling alone to Las Vegas, issued a brief statement Monday.

``I am glad to be surrounded by such a supportive group of people and am prepared to proceed as directed by my attorney and in the best interest of my family,'' he said. ``I appreciate your respect for my family's privacy during this period.''

Warner Bros. and NBC issued a statement of support.

Sorkin wrote the Broadway and film versions of the military drama ``A Few Good Men,'' the screenplay for ``The American President'' and the TV comedy ``Sports Night.''

``The West Wing,'' starring Martin Sheen as the president, won a record nine Emmys last year, including one for Sorkin for best writing.

Sorkin has addressed the issue of drug abuse in the series, portraying the chief of staff as a recovering addict.

``It's finally coming out of the closet as a health problem, not a criminal problem,'' Sorkin told The Associated Press in January. ``I think that as people become more aware of that about addiction, they find there are interesting ways to tell stories about it.''