''Ed'' costar denies drug charges. Josh Randall says he was asking a homeless man for directions, not smoking crack with him

By Gary Susman
Updated August 02, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT

”Ed” costar Josh Randall, who was arrested Wednesday on the Brooklyn waterfront on two counts of possession of crack, pleaded not guilty yesterday at his arraignment, saying he had just stopped to ask a homeless man for directions to the bus, not for a smoke. ”I didn’t do anything illegal. The charges are totally unfounded,” the actor said at Brooklyn Criminal Court, according to published reports.

Randall, who plays Dr. Mike Burton on the NBC comedy, lives in Manhattan but got lost wandering in an unfamiliar neighborhood in New York City, his lawyer has said. ”He realized he was in an unfamiliar place,” attorney Kenneth Glassman told the New York Daily News. ”A homeless man walked up to him and asked him for money. He asked the homeless man for directions. He wanted to get out of there and the guy said, ‘I’ll take you to the bus.’ He gave the homeless man $20, and he was arrested.”

Undercover cops saw the exchange of money and cited Randall for smoking crack. But cops found no drugs on Randall’s person, the New York Post reports. Rather, they found the crack in the hand of Charles Foster, the homeless man, along with a pipe containing crack residue. In fact, Foster told the Post, Randall wasn’t aware that Foster had some crack. ”I didn’t offer, he didn’t ask, he didn’t smoke. He didn’t even know I did,” Foster said. He added that the pair did swig some vodka that the actor had in his backpack, and said that Randall gave him $10, not $20.

Both Randall, 30, and Foster, 40, face up to a year behind bars if convicted of possession. So far, however, Randall’s arrest won’t affect production on ”Ed,” producer Rob Burnett told the Daily News. ”If you know Josh as we do, you know this is a terrible misunderstanding, that he is innocent and that his name will be cleared,” Burnett said.