Justin Bieber and his California legal team are mulling a plea deal in his egging vandalism case according to a Wednesday TMZ report. However, later reports – including one which quoted the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office as saying – “No plea, no decision” – indicates it’s premature to call it just yet.
Additionally, CNN reported that while there “there is little doubt Bieber will be charged with vandalism,” his lawyers Howard Weitzman and Shawn Holley met with prosecutors Tuesday to try and persuade them not to charge the singer with a felony for allegedly throwing eggs at his former neighbor’s Calabasas, California, mansion on January 9.
Noting that TMZ reported Weitzman and co. had only been contacted about a plea deal and hadn’t met with prosecutors, CNN’s report suggests a plea deal isn’t in the can if the D.A. is still contemplating going beyond a misdemeanor charge.
The celebrity gossip site previously reported Bieber and his Miami legal team were offered a plea deal in his suspected DUI case but rejected it due to random drug testing requirements. Yet, at a March 11 status hearing Miami-Dade prosecutor Daniel Diaz-Balart told presiding Judge William Altfield that no plea deal had been offered, as per the Miami Herald.
Bieber’s lead criminal defense attorney in that case, Roy Black, later confirmed to Radar Online that:
“The state has not offered any plea deal. The judge asked in court yesterday if an offer had been extended and the prosecutor said no. All I can say is that the case is set for trial and we are preparing for it.”
Returning to the egging case.
Because Bieber’s neighbor’s $20,000 damages is above the $400 misdemeanor to a felony threshold, the potential vandalism charge is a “wobbler.”
This means the D.A. has discretion over whether Bieber will be charged with either felony or misdemeanor vandalism. Citing two sources close to the case, CNN reports Weitzman and Holley’s Tuesday meet centered on arguing that the egging was “a silly prank” and that since Bieber has no criminal record it should be treated as a misdemeanor.
The outlet noted Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Detectives want Bieber charged as a felony due to the high damages, before adding the D.A. will announce a decision soon.
If a plea deal does pan out and it may well do, Bieber wouldn’t serve any jail time but would have to plead no contest to felony or misdemeanor vandalism, accept informal probation and make financial restitution with his former neighbor.
Speaking of which, despite recent tabloid assurances that Bieber is planning a full-time move to Atlanta, Georgia — where he has been staying since early February and has now sold his Calabasas mansion to Khloe Kardashian – CNN reports a source connected to the 20-year-old confirmed he is not moving to ATL.
Everyone is asking me why am I in the studio if I’m on a break. Because music is what I love to do. This isn’t work. This is what I love.
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) March 19, 2014