Robert Downey, Jr. Gets Christmas Eve Pardon from Gov. Jerry Brown for ’90s Drug Conviction

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Robert Downey, Jr. received an official pardon from California Gov. Jerry Brown on Christmas Eve for his 1996 drug conviction in the state.

The Iron Man star was one of 91 people who received a pardon on the day before Christmas, the governor’s office announced Thursday.

According to the pardoning documents, Downey was convicted and sentenced in 1996 for felony drug possession, carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle with a prior conviction, DUI with priors and use or under the influence of a controlled substance. The actor served a little more than a year in prison and just under three years on probation, before being discharged in December 2002.

The actor turned his life around after his drug conviction, starring in multiple Marvel films as the smooth-talking superhero Iron Man. Forbes named Downey the highest-paid actor for the third straight year in 2015, with combined earnings of $80 million.

In the official pardon document, the governor’s office wrote that “since his release from custody, he has lived an honest and upright life, exhibited good moral character, and conducted himself as a law-abiding citizen.”

Brown has previously pardoned former convicts on Christmas Eve, mostly for nonviolent offenses. The pardon does not erase convicts’ records but does restore voting rights.

Downey will appear next in next year’s Captain America: Civil War.

Note: This story was updated to note that an official pardon does not overturn or erase the original conviction.


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