Michael pleads not guilty to marijuana charges


LONDON -- George Michael pleaded innocent Wednesday to charges of being unfit to drive and possessing marijuana.

The 43-year-old singer was arrested Sept. 30 after police responded to complaints that a car was blocking an intersection in north London. Police said Michael was found passed out inside the car.

Michael, who was referred to by his birth name, George Panayiotou, wasn't in court, and the pleas were entered by his attorney, Keima Payton.

Judge Katherine Marshall provisionally set a trial date for April 23, but Payton said blood samples taken on the night of his arrest weren't legal, meaning the trial should be scrapped.

"Are you saying prosecution should not take place because it is unfair?" Marshall asked.

"Indeed," Payton said.

Arguments were set for March 7 to discuss whether the blood sample taken from Michael was inadmissible. The judge excused Michael's attendance for that hearing, too.

Michael rose to fame in the 1980s as half of the duo Wham! before starting his solo career.