Judge Tosses Out Criminal Charges Against Photographer Who Pursued Justin Bieber
VAN NUYS (CBSLA.com) — A Superior Court judge threw out two criminal charges Wednesday against the photographer accused of driving recklessly while chasing Justin Bieber over the summer.
Bieber was pulled over for speeding on the Ventura (101) Freeway on July 6, but he told authorities he was trying to get away from paparazzi.
Paul Raef was charged under a 2010 anti-paparazzi law aimed to crack down on photographers driving recklessly in pursuit of celebrities, but the judge threw out the charges because he said the law was “problematic.”
“The judge felt because the law was so broadly written, punished so much conduct that could be lawful, the law was unconstitutional and violated the First Amendment,” said defense attorney, Dmitry Gorin.
Raef was still charged with misdemeanor counts of reckless driving and an arraignment date is expected to be set Wednesday afternoon.
Meantime, Bieber had another run-in with authorities on Tuesday night.
KNX 1070’s Bob Brill reports the pop singer was cited by police for making an unsafe left turn in West Hollywood.
Bieber, 18, was pulled over about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the 600 block of Hayworth Avenue, according to West Hollywood Sheriff’s Lt. Michael White.
TMZ.com reported that Bieber was driving a white Ferrari with an expired registration when he was pulled over, from which he apparently also posted a photo on Instagram of the squad car’s patrol lights.
White said that despite the driver’s celebrity status, Bieber was cooperative with deputies.
“Basic traffic stop, moving violation and a citation…uneventful,” said White, who added that no drugs or alcohol were involved.
Bieber has been in the headlines frequently over the last few months after his Calabasas home was targeted in a so-called “swatting” prank in October, a denial to a BBC reporter that he was a part of a shadowy internationalist conspiracy known as the “Illuminati”, and most recently after his widely-publicized breakup with singer Selena Gomez.
The singer was last pulled over in July after he was seen driving a chrome Fisker-Karma at speeds upwards of 100 m.p.h. on the 101 Freeway in Studio City.