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‘American Idol’ Alum Antonella Barba Cries As Judge Hands Her 45 Months For Transporting Fentanyl
A federal judge told former reality TV contestant Antonella Barba to “go out there and be a light” after she serves her time and undergoes treatment for her drug conviction.
Former “American Idol” contestant Antonella Barba was sentenced to 45 months in prison on Thursday after she pleaded guilty in August to transporting the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl.
During an hourlong hearing, U.S. District Court Judge Arenda Wright Allen handed Barba a sentence somewhere between the prison term recommended by prosecutors and the more lenient sentence requested by the former reality star’s attorneys, according to sentencing minutes reviewed by Oxygen.com.
Barba will have to serve five years of supervised release after her time inside, as well as pay a $100 special assessment, according to the sentencing minutes.
The former “Idol” contestant has some options for further reducing her time in prison, according to one of her attorneys, Randall Leeman. She already has three months of time-served credit, Leeman told USA Today.
She has also been ordered to take part in a 500-hour residential drug treatment program; if she completes it, the judge will shave a year off her sentence, Leeman told the outlet.
However, Leeman insisted that Barba doesn’t have addiction issues herself.
“She doesn’t have a drug problem per se,” Leeman told USA Today. “But the program is more of a therapeutic program. I think the court wanted her to enter that program and to complete it to get the counseling benefit of it.”
Barba was arrested in Norfolk, Virginia, on Oct. 11 after authorities say they received a tip that another party, Justin Michael Isaac, would be traveling from the Washington, D.C. area to Norfolk in order to deliver fentanyl according to The Virginian-Pilot’s reporting.
However, Isaac allegedly told a third party later that he’d be sending a woman to deliver the drugs instead; police kept watch outside of the house where the delivery was set to take place, which is how they came to find Barba with the drugs, the paper reported.
Barba’s attorneys insisted that she had no idea what was in the packages she was delivering, and that she didn’t make any money off the drug deal, The Blast reported.
Still, Barba pleaded guilty in August to one count of conspiracy to distribute fentanyl.
In the lead-up to Barba’s sentencing, friends and family submitted letters to the court pleading for leniency, arguing that the experience of striving for success on “American Idol” and later being kicked off the show led to Barba making bad choices.
Leeman and lead defense counsel James O. Broccoletti also told Allen that Barba had longstanding mental health issues, including bipolar, anxiety and narcissistic personality disorders, USA Today reported.
Allen ordered Barba to also undergo mental health treatment.
Barba cried when she addressed the court, and told Allen that she would “use her time to help others,” according to USA Today.
Allen then told the former “Idol” contestant to “go out there and be a light,” Leeman told the outlet.
In addition to “American Idol,” Barba was featured on “Fear Factor” in 2012.