Prosecutors want a judge to privately view a jail booking video of the teen singer in “various states of undress” to ‘balance the public’s interest’ against star’s privacy rights.
Justin Bieber’s Miami heat has morphed from a simple alleged DUI with related charges, into a full blown fight between the singer’s lawyers and news media organizations with a CCTV jail booking video containing sensitive content at the center of the ring.
Addressing Bieber’s lawyers’ contention that police station footage shows the star in “various states of undress” with “intimate personal parts” revealed and shouldn’t be released to media, in a Friday filing Miami prosecutors asked the case judge to watch the jail video privately to balance “the public’s interest” and the “singer’s privacy rights.”
Bieber was filmed on CCTV cameras at Miami Beach Police Station following his arrest on January 23 on a residential street while driving a rented yellow Lamborghini.
Police described the teen star and fellow arrestee singer Khalil Sharieff, 19, as preparing for an illegal street drag race.Both were taken to the station for tests, booking and processing.
The singer’s lawyers filed a February 7 instant preliminary motion to prevent further jail video being released, the day after footage of Bieber getting a pat down at the station was leaked by Miami police last Thursday.
In the motion, Bieber’s lawyers stated the prosecution told them sensitive [exempt] images of the star existed on police footage and that the Miami-Dade State Attorney’ Office told them there was a pending request by news media outlets for the custody video footage.
Lead attorney Roy Black stated in papers that his client was, “Captured on videotape in various states of undress which show intimate personal parts of the defendant’s body.”
Further explicit information that Bieber is seen “stumbling and going to the bathroom” in a holding cell, emerged via a law enforcement source to TMZ earlier this week.
In documents, the Canadian star’s legal team asked the Florida County Court to order a stay on all disclosures including the Miami Beach Police Department, State Attorney’s Office and media, of all public records containing electronic media of Bieber while he was in custody at the station to prevent “irreparable harm” before a court hearing.
The hearing for the public records issues has been set for next Thursday, February 20.
News outlets claim there is no law to prevent full public disclosure under Florida”s notoriously demanding open record law.
However, Bieber’s lawyers motion states the Florida Constitution under Article 1: Sections 23 and 24 and the Florida statutes 119.15 Section 6 (b) 2 allows for exemptions to disclosure of public records.
Assistant Florida State Attorney Juan Perez appears to agree.
“The video tapes of the defendant’s intimate personal parts may very well fall outside the definition of what is public record,” he told the New York Daily News Friday.
For their part the prosecution in Bieber’s DUI case are maintaining a cool distance from the public records media request furor.
“This isn’t our issue. This is a media issue,” prosecution spokesman Ed Griffith told The News Friday.
He added jail custody videos are generally considered public record, but sensitive material — such as Social Security numbers, naked images — are protected from public release.
“What is indicated as a concern [by Bieber’s legal team] would be redacted under the law anyway,” Griffith said.
The pop prince wasn’t expected at the Valentine’s Day arraignment having already entered a written “not guilty” plea on January 29 to charges of DUI, resisting arrest without violence, and driving with an expired license.
The spokesman said the arraignment was “moot” because prosecutors did not change the original police charges.
“No court arraignment was necessary today,”Griffith said.”We can always amend [charges] down the line if necessary.”
A subsequent toxicology report revealed marijuana and the anxiety-drug Xanax were present in Bieber’s system at the time of arrest, which corroborated a police report statement that he admitted taking prescription medication, smoking pot and drinking beer earlier.
The singer’s blood alcohol level in two completed breath tests was 0.011 and 0.014 — well below intoxication limits. But, at 19, Justin is still underage by two years under US drinking laws.
A March 3 trial date has been set for the DUI and related charges case.
Meanwhile, Justin has also been charged with assault in his native Canada over the alleged assault of a limousine driver. His lawyers have stated he is innocent of the matter.
Bringing up the rear, the Los Angeles County District Attorney is expected to announce a decision on possible charges for Bieber in the alleged egg assault case within the next few days.
The motion papers are hosted here.