ORLANDO — Gov. Jeb Bush’s daughter was released from jail early Saturday, 10 days after a judge ordered her locked up for violating terms of her court-ordered drug treatment program.
Noelle Bush left the Orange County jail around 4 a.m., said Allen Moore, spokesman for the county corrections department. She was picked up in an SUV in a closed garage to the side of the jail, away from media cameras, instead of departing through the facility’s entrance as most inmates do.
She returned to the Center for Drug-Free Living in Orlando, said her brother, George P. Bush, a law student in Texas.
“We’re handling it. It’s tough,” said George P. Bush, who was in Orlando campaigning for his father’s re-election. “It hurts, but all we can do is love her, support her and be there for her.”
George P. Bush, 26, said he hadn’t spoken to or visited his sister Saturday. Later in the day, he was to visit college students in Tampa, Gainesville and Miami for the Bush re-election campaign.
The president’s 25-year-old niece had been ordered to attend drug treatment after she was arrested in January for allegedly trying to use a fraudulent prescription to buy the anti-anxiety drug Xanax at a pharmacy drive-through window. Under the diversion program, the charges could be dropped if she completes treatment.
Judge Reginald Whitehead has since sent her to jail twice for violating terms of that agreement.
In July, she was jailed for three days after a treatment worker caught her with prescription pills. The 10-day stint that ended Saturday followed allegations that she was found with crack cocaine in her shoe at the center. The state attorney’s office had sought to interview workers at the treatment center about the allegations but a judge ruled that doing so would violate federal privacy laws.
The governor and his wife briefly visited their daughter in jail Tuesday. Jail officials also allowed a visit by C. David Brown II, a Bush family friend and GOP campaign contributor.
Noelle Bush’s next appearance before Whitehead is Nov. 8, three days after voters decide whether to re-elect her father, when she will give the judge an update on her progress. Her attorneys had fought unsuccessfully to keep her appearances before the judge closed to the public.