Justin Bieber’s responses in his infamous Miami deposition could see him fined for contempt of court, if the lawyer representing paparazzo Jeffrey Binion who is suing the superstar and one of his bodyguards in a civil battery and negligence case gets his way.
Attorney Mark DiCowden’s repeat questioning infuriated the 20-year-old during the March 6 court-mandated hearing, prompting flippant, evasive, argumentative — and at one point — a profane answer from Bieber in the four-and-a-half-hour session.
DiCowden has since filed two motions, one of which asks Miami-Dade circuit Judge Sarah Zabel to order Bieber to a second deposition for more questioning, including his relationship with reportedly back-on girlfriend Selena Gomez. The other motion requests the banning of Bieber’s attorney’s, Howard Weitzman and Jeremiah Reynolds, from the Binion lawsuit on grounds of obstruction.
It now appears a third motion, or an adjunct, has been filed by the opposing counsel, asking the judge to find Bieber in contempt and to fine him heavily for his conduct in the deposition, according to Gossip Extra.
To recap, Binion alleges he was assaulted by Bieber’s bodyguards on the singer’s express orders outside Miami’s Hit Factory recording studio after he was spotted taking photos last June.
The outlet reports DiCowden’s motion mentions Bieber’s “refusal to answer questions… his extreme rudeness, inappropriate comments and remarks, and his antics.”
But while those observations have been universally agreed with by media outlets and are in many respects valid, it’s also apparent that rightly or wrongly Bieber found the videotaped deposition and tone and content of many of the questions – particularly those on Gomez – deeply invasive.
And like any youngster – and for that matter anyone being sued – he showed his anger and defensiveness in a very human way.
Among the clips posted by TMZ — the Gomez segment, Bieber’s numerous “I don’t recalls,” and his exchange with a court reporter – stand out as examples in DiCowden’s favor in terms of the motion for contempt and fines being granted. But, in longer extracts Bieber expresses his frustration and struggle with the deposition process to DiCowden politely and reasonably.
Although widely reported that Bieber “stormed” out of the hearing when asked if he had ever dated Gomez and discussed his feelings about paparazzi with her, in fact that isn’t the case.
After the upset singer repeatedly told DiCowden “don’t ask me about her again,” it was his attorneys who instructed him not to answer and leave the room. DiCowden can be heard in the segment telling the lawyers, “Your client hasn’t requested a break.”
Similarly, while Bieber did drop an F-bomb on the female court reporter who sweetly asked him to speak up, he later apologized to the clerk, saying: “Um, I’m sorry for letting this man [DiCowden] get to me before. My bad.” Only a few media outlets posted the segment and — tellingly, it wasn’t posted by TMZ.
[Video: Scroll to 2:51 minutes for Bieber's apology.]
Bieber’s lawyers told Page Six the swiftness of the deposition video leak and selectiveness of TMZ’s clips suggests possible impropriety by Binion’s legal team.
But while that was denied by DiCowden on Inside Edition, it’s also true that the orgy of over-the-top media comment damning Bieber’s conduct since the deposition’s airing is based on tabloid-friendly bites of the footage and not the context of the entire hearing.
DiCowden, an experienced clever prober and much older opponent, is coming after Bieber with the full weight of the law, telling E! News Tuesday:
“I’m looking for Bieber’s reappearance in a deposition to be answered truthfully, honestly, and provide his recollections as to incidents that occurred between him and his bodyguards, including the Selena Gomez incident.”
D-Day for Bieber and his lawyers arrives June 30, when Judge Zabel will hear the motions at a scheduled Miami hearing, including the request to fine and hold the singer in contempt of court.
It is to be hoped the judge also takes account of the widespread contempt routinely hurled Bieber’s way, and recognizes that behavior in a pressurized deposition may not always be pretty — but it is understandable.