Antonella Barba, Former American Idol Standout, Sentenced to 45 Months in Jail

Antonella Barba is headed to prison.

The former American Idol standout, who advanced to the final 16 way back in 2007, was sentenced on Thursday to 45 months in federal prison after pleading guilty in July to 10 drug charges.

She was arrested last October for heroin possession.

The 32-year old former reality star appeared in U.S. District Court in Norfolk, Virginia yesterday, at which time she learned her punishment for trying to deliver nearly two pounds of fentanyl to a stash house in Virginia back in October 2018.

That’s… an extraordinary amount of a controlled substance for one person to have in her possession.

Hence the very length sentencing handed out this week to Barba.

Prior to the hearing, Barba’s attorney had filed paperwork in court, contending his client — a first-time offender — should receive a light sentence.

The filing, obtained and reported on initially by Fox News, actually argued Barba fell victim to the pitfalls of the fame she experienced after her run on the long-running reality show.

It basically blamed American Idol for the events that led to Barba’s arrest.

“One of the common themes is that the American Idol experience brought about a detrimental change in Ms. Barba’s life,” the filing reads.

These same documented included testimony from Barba’s mother, who indicated her daughter’s sudden move to Los Angeles after her time on American Idol was “a recipe for disaster.” 

Moreover, the mother added that being voted off of the signing competition “was devastating to her,” crushing her dreams and leading her down a dangerous path, leading to her arrest in 2018.

If you’ll recall, Barba also ran into controversy during her run on Idol when some scantily-clad photos of the contestant went viral.

Barba’s lawyers sought a sentence of between 37 and 46 months in federal prison for their client, who actually faced a maximum of a life sentence.

The plea deal was orchestrated four months after Barba was indicted on 11 federal charges, including:

  • One count of conspiracy to distribute and possess cocaine, heroin and fentanyl with the intent to distribute.
  • 10 counts of distribution or possession of cocaine, heroin and fentanyl with the intent to distribute.

The ex-artist was arrested by undercover agents with the fentanyl, which authorities said she was delivering to her boss in Norfolk, Virginia.

According to a statement from federal prosecutors, released in the wake of her arrest, Barba was sitting in a parked rental car “when she was approached by law enforcement” acting on a tip.

Barba was an American Idol hopeful in the same season that saw Jordin Sparks crowned the eventual winner.

In 2012, she appeared on an episode of Fear Factor and, along with many other former American Idol stars, participated in a “We Are the World” parody on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in May 2017.

Concluded Barba’s lawyer after the sentencing was made official:

“The case is over.

“My client accepted responsibility and the judge was very fair — very concerned about her.

“Because she knows what’s happening, there’s now closure to this part of her life. It’s been liberating [for her]. She is able to have a concrete understanding of where she is and where she’s going next.

“With all things considered, she’s in the best place she can be emotionally and psychologically.”

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