Testifying for her son's freedom after his conviction for selling an eighth of an ounce of cocaine, Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders was asked if he was likely to commit more crimes.
"I don't feel that was a crime," she told the judge.. It was not clear whether she meant that the case was entrapment, as her son claims.
"I was surprised that someone in her position would make a comment like that," Deputy Prosecutor Chris Palmer said, noting that Kevin Elders wrote a letter to the court acknowledging that he had committed a crime.
Kevin Elders, 29, was released on $10,000 bond while he appeals his conviction and 10-year sentence. He agreed to continue drug treatment and take a drug test every two weeks.
Joycelyn Elders testified that her son would live with her older son, Eric, a Pine Bluff schoolteacher, and help manage the family's rental property.
At the trial, Kevin Elders admitted to a decadelong drug habit and a three-year cocaine addiction. He received the minimum sentence Monday for his first offense.
Kevin Elders says the informant who bought the cocaine for $275 on July 29, 1993, threatened to expose his addiction and embarrass his mother at her confirmation hearing unless he made the sale.