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Paris speaks: Being locked up 'traumatic'

She says her jail term was a raw deal but vows never to drink and drive again.

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published June 28, 2007


LOS ANGELES - Being locked in a cell was a "traumatic experience" and something she never expected after driving with a suspended license, a subdued Paris Hilton told CNN's Larry King on Wednesday.

Letters from fans and supporters from around the world, including U.S. soldiers in Iraq and people as far away as India, helped her get through the 23 days in lockup, Hilton told King in her first broadcast interview since leaving jail Tuesday.

All of the letters were positive, she said, adding that reading them in her cell sometimes reduced her to tears.

"I've been through a lot, " said Hilton, her blond hair cascading across her forehead. "And it was a pretty traumatic experience, something that I really have grown from."

Asked why she was going public about her experience, she told King, "I just want to let people know what I went through."

She added that going to jail was the last thing she expected when Superior Court Judge Michael T. Sauer ordered her to his court in May for violating probation in an alcohol-related reckless-driving case.

"I was walking in there assuming I was just going to get community service, " Hilton said. "That's what my lawyer said at the time. So when he sentenced me to that much time in jail it was shocking because that doesn't happen, ever ... It wasn't for DUI, it was for suspended license."

Asked whether she thought she got a "raw deal, " she said yes. Still, she vowed never to drink and drive again.

"I'll never make that mistake again, " she said.

Hilton also told King she thought the experience had changed her for the better.

"I feel like God does make everything happen for a reason, " she said. "And it gave me, you know, a time out in life just to really find out what is important and what I want to do, figure out who I am. And even though it was really hard, I took that time just to get to know myself."

Although her fellow inmates were nice to her, Hilton said, she sometimes had nightmares in which she feared someone would break into her cell and hurt her.