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Ostrow Speaks About Airport Cocaine Arrest

Broward Public Defender candidate Gary Ostrow, who was recently charged with cocaine possession, told me this morning he was going to face the charges -- and his own personal problems -- "like a man."

Ostrow, in his first public statement since the May 2 arrest, also provided some new details to help fill in some of the holes from this morning's Sun-Sentinel scoop.

"It’s a humbling experience and I’ve taken steps to go into recovery," Ostrow said. "Whatever price I’m going to have to pay, I’m going to be a man about it. I have people around me who are supportive, thank God, and I just have to remain to be persistent and consistent in my behavior and be positive."

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The veteran 52-year-old attorney, who is running as a Republican for Broward Public Defender, said the arrest occurred while he was standing in a security line at the Tallahassee airport at about 11:30 a.m. (rather than p.m. as the Sentinel reported). He said he and a friend accompanying him on a trip to file his campaign papers were singled out for a search and that agents found the offending substance in a jacket pocket. He bonded out of jail later that same day.

While it might be assumed the arrest will end Ostrow's challenge of Public Defender Howard Finkelstein, the lawyer said he didn't want to comment about the campaign. Ostrow, who put $200,000 of his own money into his campaign account, indicated he would challenge the legality of the airport search but said his first priority is getting his life together and personally moving forward.

"It has done its damage already and it's irreversible in that respect and I have to deal with it," he said.

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