Virginia police issued a warrant on February 1 for McGowan's arrest, but she didn't respond to it for several months out of fear that something was wrong.
McGowan says she had a slim wallet on this particular trip and kept it in the side pocket of her backpack.
McGowan was bailed on a 5,000 U.S. dollar (£3,800) bond and is due to appear in court on Thursday. McGowan was on her way to the Women's March in Washington, D.C., which took place a day later. The next day she received an Instagram message that told her she left 2 bags of cocaine on the Saturday flight.
McGowan believes the warrant, arrest, and charges are related to speaking out about Weinstein.
In 1997, Ms. McGowan reached a $100,000 settlement with Mr. Weinstein, and she said through her lawyer in October that someone close to Mr. Weinstein had offered her $1 million to sign a nondisclosure agreement. I have been maligned, and you know what? She says she felt wary of the officer and was paranoid about possibly being followed by Weinstein's private detectives. A reporter from the Post, who declined to comment and asked not to be named in this story, followed up with McGowan shortly thereafter to inquire about the warrant.
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McGowan plans to plead not guilty to charges. "I beat him to it", she said.
McGowan told me that she had brought a slim card wallet with her on her trip to Washington. She didn't noticed it was missing until she landed and was trying to get a Lyft ride. She filed a lost-luggage claim and tweeted at United Airlines, asking for help recovering the wallet. "I own stock in a marijuana company, so that's my jam", she said. But after it became known publicly, she called it an attempt to silence her.
"Imagining I'm going into sisterly solidarity, I can think of nothing more opposed to that, energetically, that I would want in my body at that moment", she explained, referring to cocaine. McGowan vowed to continue her advocacy for victims of sexual assault.
McGowan, who has made headlines recently after becoming one of the first actresses to accuse fallen movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of rape, was released on a $5,000 unsecured bond, Loudoun County Sheriff's Office spokesman Kraig Troxell told AFP.
She alleged she had been raped by Weinstein after The New York Times published its bombshell investigation detailing claims of sexual harassment and abuse.