Since George W. Bush’s first presidential campaign, journalists have been tryingto verify reports that the president was once arrested on a cocaine posession charge. Now,for the first time, court records obtained by Radar may be able to shedsome light on the mystery. Filed in 1986, the same year that the presidentclaims to have given up drinking, the documents clearly show that aGeorge W. Bush Jr. was convicted in a Midland, Texas court ona vague “unlawful practice of medicine” charge. Only thing is, it appears to be the wrong George W. Bush. Although they were born mere monthsapart, lived in the same town (the president grew up in Midland), and both haveblue eyes and similar builds, only one was slapped with a $2000 fine and ayear’s probation. The other became leader ofthe free world.
The arrest story stems from Texas journalist J.H.Hatfield’s much-maligned 1999 book Fortunate Son: George W.Bush and the Making of an American President. Hatfield, who committedsuicide a year after his book was published, alleged that Bush was oncearrested for drug possession in Texas but persuaded the judge to expunge hisrecord by volunteering for an inner-city outreach program. It was rumored thatthe architect of the deal was legendary Texas lawyer Warren Burnett, who addedfurther intrigue by cagily refusing to answer definitively whether or not he hadrepresented George W. Bush. (The president has always vehemently denied the drugclaim and a White House spokeperson did not return calls by press time.) Perhapsreporters should have specified which Bush they were talking about: The courtdocuments list Burnett as George W. Bush Jr.’s lawyer in the 1986 arrest.Unfortunately, Burnett, who died in 2002, was unavailable to comment on hisbizarro client.