Mr. Quest was arrested early Friday morning after being escorted out of Central Park for violating the park curfew, a law enforcement official said Friday. The park is closed from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m.
The police noticed Mr. Quest at 64th Street and West Drive at about 3:40 a.m., the official said. As he was being escorted out, he volunteered, "I have meth in my pocket," according to an official briefed on the case. The police searched him and recovered a small amount of methamphetamine in a Ziploc bag.
CNN'S QUEST A VERY 'KNOTTY' BOY
By DAREH GREGORIAN and PHILIP MESSING
This is CNN? Kinky!
CNN personality Richard Quest was busted in Central Park early yesterday with some drugs in his pocket, a rope around his neck that was tied to his genitals, and a sex toy in his boot, law-enforcement sources said.
Quest, 46, was arrested at around 3:40 a.m. after a cop spotted him and another man inside the park near 64th Street, a police source said.
The criminal complaint against Quest said the park was closed at the time - something Quest should have known because of all the signs saying "Park Closed 1 a.m. to 6 a.m."
Quest was initially busted for loitering, the source said. Aside from the oddly configured rope, the search also turned up a sex toy inside of his boot, and a small bag of methamphetamine in his left jacket pocket.
It wasn't immediately clear what the rope was for.
The criminal complaint says the officer at the scene was able to ID the drug because of "his prior experience as a police officer in drug arrests, observation of packaging which is characteristic of this type of drug, and defendant's statements that . . . 'I've got some meth in my pocket.' "
He was charged with loitering and criminal possession of a controlled substance. His unusual get-up didn't lead to a lewdness charge because he wasn't exposing himself, the police source said.
Quest's unidentified companion was given a summons for not carrying any identification, the source said.
Quest's lawyer, Alan Abramson, had a much more innocuous version of events.
"Mr. Quest didn't realize that the park had a curfew," Abramson said. He was simply "returning to his hotel with friends."
At a hearing in Manhattan Criminal Court, Quest agreed to undergo six months of drug counseling in return for an "adjournment in contemplation of dismissal," which means the misdemeanor charges against him will be dropped and the case sealed if he stays out of trouble and completes his drug program.
He was released with no bail after spending most of the day behind bars.
Abramson predicted after the hearing that "the case will be dismissed." He declined to answer questions.
Quest, known for his hollering antics and stunts on the cable news network and its international counterpart, declined comment, as did a CNN spokeswoman.
On his official CNN bio, the network calls him "one of the most instantly recognizable members of the CNN team."
"He has become one of the network's highest profile presenters," and his "dynamic and distinctive style has made him a unique figure in the field of business and news broadcasting," the network's Web site says.
He was reportedly once offered a position for the English-language version of the controversial Al Jazeera network, but said he turned it down because being gay and Jewish, he didn't think it would be a good fit.