June 01, 1998 12:00 AM

Set to appear in court today for a hearing on drug charges, Robert Downey Jr.’s lawyers have requested more time to conduct lab tests of evidence against their client, reports Reuters. The Oscar-winning actor, 35, had been ordered to appear for a hearing set aside for prosecutors to offer him a plea bargain. Downey was arrested on November 25 in Palm Springs, Calif., on charges of felony possession of cocaine and the prescription sedative diazepam (popularly known as Valium) and a misdemeanor count of being under the influence of a controlled substance, pleaded not guilty to the charges. Since his arrest, which took place three months after his release from prison on prior drug charges, he’s had his share of ups and downs. Last week, he received a Golden Globe for his role on “Ally McBeal,” but estranged wife Deborah Falconer filed for divorce and sought custody of their son, Indio, 7. The actor’s lawyers seek more time to conduct an independent analysis of the drugs found in Downey’s hotel room at the time of his arrest. Prosecutors in the case have agreed to the request for a continuance and Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Tamara Capone said, “That request for additional discovery is a reasonable request.” If the request is denied, a date will be set for a preliminary hearing. Downey, if convicted, faces a maximum term of four years and eight months in state prison if convicted on all the charges he faces.

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