GQ Magazine

GQ Magazine Feature’s Knecht

The Art Of The Dealer

By Leon Bing

THIS COMMUNITY is Hollywood.  This is rock ‘n’ roll.”  Attorney James Silverstein is speaking from his eleventh-floor office overlooking the Sunset Strip.  “This is the center of show business.  Obviously, the appetite for drugs in this area is enormous.”  Knecht segued into private practice after two years as an assistant district attorney in Beverly Hills.  During the ensuing years, he has represented (among others) Ike Tuner, David Crosby, Heidi Fleiss, Rob Lowe, Robert Blake and Robert Downey Jr.  Knecht says, “The problem with a lot of celebrities iswhen they hit bottom.  It’s tough to hit bottom when you’re making $150,000 a week.”

Knecht tells me he is currently representing a “world-class” soccer player whom he sent to the California Rehabilitation Center in Norco “because he has failed every other rehab and because he’s intent on killing himself on the streets.  We can’t leave him out their; his family’s afraid something will happen to him.”  As a last resort, the soccer champion’s family agreed to have him confined at CRC.  Knecht is enthusiastic: “It’s a great place for people who have tried everything else.  The state of California has one of the best drug rehabs within the prison system.”

CRC is often referred to as Hotel California, and legend has it that the namesake song was written there.  It’s the home of the Civil Addict Program, which allows judges to send addicts who have been convicted of crimes that are drug related (but do not include the use of a firearm, arson or the destruction of property) to CRC instead of a state prison.  At CRC addicts spend ten to fourteen months in a continuous rehab program.  “If we’d had Robert Downey Jr. at CRC, the incident in Palm Springs would not have happened.”