LOCAL : D.A. Declines to File Cocaine Charges Against Actor Bridges

<i> From Times Wire Services</i>

Citing insufficient evidence, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office declined to file drug charges today against actor Todd Bridges, who was arrested Saturday in North Hollywood. However, a man arrested with Bridges, Stephen Mallen, 36, was charged with one count of possession of cocaine for sale.

Bridges, 24, and Mallen, both of Los Angeles, were arrested early Saturday after police said they saw the two men seated in the actor’s car in front of a closed business on Victory Boulevard at Tujunga Avenue. After questioning the men, officers found more than 3 ounces of cocaine in the vehicle, police said.

But Deputy Dist. Atty. Norm Shapiro said there was insufficient evidence to prove that Bridges was in possession of the drug. Shapiro said the cocaine was found in Mallen’s pants pocket, his wallet and in a bag next to the passenger seat.

Bridges, a former child star in the NBC sitcom “Diff’rent Strokes,” is facing trial on an assault charge stemming from allegations he shot and wounded a drug dealer inside a South-Central Los Angeles cocaine “rock” house in 1988.