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Cases mean more than legal woes Bieber friend rapper Lil Za charged

LOS ANGELES, Feb 1, (Agencies): Justin Bieber’s court cases on both sides of the US-Canadian border could complicate the pop star’s jet-setting ways as his troubles bring more scrutiny by judges and prosecutors. Legal experts said a decision by Toronto authorities to charge the 19-year-old Bieber with assault on Wednesday makes his legal situation more complicated and difficult to untangle. He is already facing a driving under the influence case in Miami and remains under investigation for felony vandalism in California. All the cases are in the early stages and it’s uncertain whether the Grammy-nominated singer might be convicted of any charges. But if he is, it would impact how judges deal with him, said Stanley L. Friedman, a former federal prosecutor who now practices criminal defense in Los Angeles. “I think the legal system is much more likely to treat him harshly as somebody who needs to be taught a lesson,” Friedman said. “Now he’s become a national poster child for being a bad boy.”

Scrutiny
Andrew Flier, a criminal defense attorney who has represented sports stars and actors, said immigration issues are likely Bieber’s biggest problem at this point. If the singer is convicted, he could get closer scrutiny when traveling from his homeland of Canada to the US, where he now lives. “Multiple convictions even on misdemeanors could be troublesome to the non-citizen,” Flier said. Bieber has pleaded not guilty to DUI, resisting arrest without violence and driving without a valid license in the Miami case. A preliminary toxicology report released Thursday showed that he tested positive for marijuana and the anti-anxiety drug Xanax. Bieber told police after the arrest that he had been smoking marijuana and had taken a prescription drug.

In California, the singer remains under investigation for an egg-tossing incident that left his neighbor’s house with thousands of dollars in damage. If Bieber is charged in that case, a California judge may look at him more harshly in light of the Florida and Toronto cases, said Stan Goldman, a criminal law professor at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. “The fact that you’ve got three is a heck of a lot worse than one,” Goldman said. Bieber has not addressed the vandalism claim in California, and his attorney Howard Weitzman has said the singer’s legal team believes their client is innocent in the Toronto case.

Friedman agreed and said Bieber’s other cases might make it more likely that he will be charged in Los Angeles. Prosecutors have a lot of discretion in how they pursue cases, and a judge has limited influence in the early stages about what deal Bieber might be offered or whether the case goes forward. If Bieber is convicted in any of the cases, he would lose the benefit of the doubt that judges often give first-time offenders, Goldman said.

For example, a judge could opt to keep Bieber on a long probation sentence to make sure he stays out of trouble, Goldman said, citing the case of Lindsay Lohan. Bieber was allowed re-entry into the United States on Friday after a brief detention during which US Customs officials used drug-sniffing dogs to search his private jet, according to a US law enforcement source briefed on the incident.

Also:
LOS ANGELES:
A friend of Justin Bieber’s has been charged with drug crimes in connection with a raid on the teen pop star’s home this month, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office said on Friday.
Xavier Smith, 20, better known as rapper Lil Za, was charged with possession of MDMA and oxycodone and vandalizing the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s jail where he was held, said Ricardo Santiago, a spokesman for the district attorney. Smith was arrested on Jan 14 during a Sheriff’s Department raid on Bieber’s home in Calabasas, about 30 miles (48 kms) northeast of Los Angeles.

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