The gentleman doth protested a little too much.
Despite a series of denials and claims that he was nothing more than a victim of his son's wrongdoing, Ryan O'Neal pleaded guilty this morning to one count of felony possession of a controlled substance for his September arrest.
After entering his plea in a Malibu courtroom, the 67-year-old actor agreed to enter into an 18-month drug-deferment program. If O'Neal successfully completes the program and avoids any further contact with law enforcement, the charge against him will be dismissed.
"He wanted to put this behind him and resolve this in a dignified and private way, and that is what he has done," O'Neal's lawyer, Mark Werksman, told E! News.
Ryan's 23-year-old son Redmond, who was also busted on Sept. 17 and long scapegoated by his father, was also present in the courtroom for today's hearing, though his arraignment was postponed until Feb. 20.
Both men were busted at the family's Malibu home last fall during a routine probation sweep stemming from a previous Redmond arrest. A vial of methamphetamine was found in Ryan's bedroom, and both he and his lawyer claimed that the Love Story actor had simply confiscated the drugs from his son and denied that they belonged to the erstwhile Oscar nominee.
Ryan O'Neal has been ordered to return to court for a progress hearing on his case on July 10.
—Additional reporting by Claudia Rosenbaum and Whitney English
(Originally published Jan. 9, 2009 at 10:22 a.m. PT.)