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Lenny Bruce Returns to New York, Detained by Authorities

Apr. 9, 1963 - Lenny Bruce arrived at New York’s Idlewild Airport after a transatlantic trip late yesterday. He was detained there for 75 minutes by customs authorities who searched him for narcotics. The comedian said he was “disappointed” but not bitter about Britain’s refusal to admit him to the country. He said he had been arrested in the U.S. on charges of obscenity, possession of narcotics, and assault. “I think it is a pretty accurate assumption this is why I was refused entry into England,” he said. About his detention in Idlewild, he commented: “They seized me and wanted to know why I didn’t register as a narcotics user. I told them I wasn’t a user and that I had never been convicted of using narcotics. It’s pure Kafka. It’s trial without jury.” Mr. Bruce was convicted of obscenity in Chicago last February after his arrest in a Chicago nightclub. He was sentenced to a year in jail and fined $1,000, but the case is being appealed. In California, two charges of possessing narcotics and another obscenity charge are pending against him. Last September, he was barred from appearing in a Sydney, Australia nightclub.


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