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Rose McGowan indicted on drug charge, headed to trial in January

Rose McGowan poses for a photo at the Women’s Convention, where she was a featured speaker, at the Cobo Center in Detroit, Oct. 27, 2017. (Erin Kirkland/Copyright 2018 The New York Times)

Actress and activist Rose McGowan is set to go to trial in January in Loudoun County, Virginia, on a cocaine possession charge.

McGowan, who was indicted Monday, is accused of leaving a wallet with cocaine inside on a plane at Dulles International Airport last year. On Tuesday, her trial in Loudoun County Circuit Court was set for January 15, 2019. It is expected to last two days.

McGowan says she is being targeted for her advocacy against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. The former "Charmed" star was among the first to accuse Weinstein of sexual assault.

"Rose steadfastly maintains her innocence," her attorney Jose Baez said in a statement. "These charges would have never been brought if it weren't for her activism as a voice for women everywhere. I assure you, this selective prosecution will be met with a strong defense."

Gowan recently hired Baez, a high-profile Florida lawyer who represented Casey Anthony and Aaron Hernandez in their murder trials.

At a hearing last month, prosecutors made the case that McGowan's wallet was properly handled from the moment it was found on a United Airlines plane early on the morning of January 21, 2017. McGowan had flown in for the Women's March on Washington that day.

Cleaning crew members testified that they handed the wallet to authorities as soon as they discovered white powder inside. A detective testified that when he called McGowan about the wallet and said she would have to pick it up at the airport police department, she said she would come but never did.

Defense attorney Jessica Carmichael argued, however, that there was not enough evidence to prove McGowan's guilt, pointing to inconsistencies among witnesses as well as the hours that passed between the flight's landing and the wallet's discovery.

In Virginia, possession of any amount of cocaine is a felony carrying a punishment of up to 10 years in prison.

Author Information:

Rachel Weiner tries to cover Alexandria's federal court from a small windowless room with no cellphone access. She sometimes ventures outside to write about crime in Alexandria and Arlington.

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