Justin Bieber may have avoided felony charge with deal, expert says

Los Angeles TimesJuly 9, 2014 

— LOS ANGELES_Justin Bieber's attorneys may have worked out a deal with prosecutors to get a misdemeanor vandalism charge and avoid a felony for the January egg-throwing incident at his neighbor's home, an expert said.

Damage caused to his neighbor's home from the Jan. 9 egg-throwing incident reportedly totaled $20,000, which could have resulted in a felony vandalism charge, authorities said.

But on Wednesday, the Los Angeles County prosecutors announced plans to charge Bieber, 20, with one misdemeanor count of vandalism.

The charge may suggest a deal was already worked out between his attorneys and prosecutors, possibly through some form of pre-filing intervention, said Dmitry Gorin, a former prosecutor who is now a prominent defense attorney.

"It is, I would say, a slap on the wrist," he said.

To persuade prosecutors to file a lesser charge against the Canadian-born recording artist, his attorneys possibly had to show that Bieber had already paid for the damage, or plans to pay for it, Gorin said.

His case may have also been helped by the fact that Bieber doesn't have any previous convictions and because he moved out of the Calabasas neighborhood, so his former neighbors don't have to worry about retaliation.

Bieber will not appear in person for his arraignment, which was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon in Los Angeles County Superior Court in Van Nuys in the San Fernando Valley, prosecutors said.

Through his attorney, Bieber has denied any wrongdoing.

The charge comes after a series of run-ins this year with law enforcement.

A woman in May said Bieber accused her of recording him at a San Fernando Valley miniature golf course and batting cages then reached into her purse and tried to pull out her phone. The woman said she then struggled with Bieber over the phone. The Los Angeles city attorney's office declined to file charges in the incident.

Bieber was arrested Jan. 23 in Miami Beach for allegedly driving under the influence, driving with an expired license and resisting arrest. Six days later, Toronto police arrested him on suspicion of assaulting a limousine driver in December.

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