Justin Bieber’s nuclear deposition video may not be what it seems. The singer and his legal team reportedly believe Justin was “set up” in the four-and-a-half-hour videotaped hearing by lawyers who goaded the star with rage-triggering questions with an alleged plan to leak selective extracts designed to “humiliate him.”
Bieber attended a court-mandated deposition in Miami last Thursday March 6, to be grilled on allegations made in a civil assault lawsuit filed by photographer Jeffrey Binion, 56.
Binion claims he was assaulted by Bieber’s bodyguards on the singer’s orders after he was spotted taking photos of the star outside a studio last June. Binion is also suing one of the bodyguards, Hugo Hesny.
Just two days after the deposition took place, celebrity gossip website TMZ posted four short extract clips which Bieber’s legal team say show the stressed out singer only after hours of aggressively badgering questioning by Binion’s lawyer — Mark DiCowden — who is part of Russell S. Adler’s team — an attorney previously suspended from the bar association.
Bieber is seen either arguing, evading, or refusing to answer DiCowden’s queries. He was also flippant, obstructive and exhibited signs of frustration at opposing counsel’s queries, which Bieber’s lawyers slammed in the combative hearing as irrelevant or harassment.
According to Page Six, Bieber’s legal team are “outraged” by the deposition video leaks and are “considering making a request to the judge to order an audit to see if a payment was received by anybody on Binion’s side for the tape which they believe is… malpractice.”
A source told the New York City outlet:
“The video was leaked so quickly that Justin’s legal team believes it was all a setup. The questions Justin was being asked, including questions about Usher, had nothing to do with the case.”
“He was being harassed with extremely strange questions, and the chosen clips that were released, which show Justin to be frustrated, happened four and a half hours into the deposition.”
At one point in the deposition in footage later published by Celebuzz, Bieber told Binion’s attorney: “I don’t feel like this is fair,” adding that questions he was being asked didn’t “have anything to do with the case.”
Among the viral highlights from Bieber’s testimony during which his default response was “I don’t recall,” a sample follows:
At one point Bieber told Binion’s attorney: “I don’t have to listen to anything you have to say.”
At another, the 20-year-old was asked about his mentor Usher, who is widely regarded as crucial to Bieber’s early start in 2008.
Asked if he knew if he knew “an entertainer by the name of Usher,” Justin appeared to toy with DiCowden, giving answers that for some reason are being interpreted by many tabloids and other media outlets as serious responses.
“Yeah, Usher, that sounds familiar,” Bieber replied. A little later he was asked by DiCowden,
“Isn’t it true that Usher was instrumental in starting your career?”
“I was found on YouTube,” Bieber replied. “I think that I was detrimental to my own career.”
After prompting from his attorney, the Canadian changed his answer to “instrumental” but not in time for viral memes.
A high-drama moment came when the “Baby” singer was asked if he’d ever talked to on-off girlfriend, Selena Gomez about his feelings toward paparazzi. Clearly upset, Bieber covered his eyes with his hand and repeatedly told DiCowden, “Don’t ask me about her again.”
He was then advised to leave the room by one of his lawyers who objected on grounds of harassment.
In new deposition footage published by Hollywood LIfe, Bieber describes being harrassed by paparazzi and called a “c**t” by a British paparazzo during the London leg of his Believe tour during his deposition.
Beneath the footage upload at YouTube.com, Hollywood Life posted a note saying Bieber was calm at the start of the hearing and only came belligerent after extensive harassment from DiCowden, writing:
“It needs to be noted that Justin started very calm and polite in these interviews. It was only after hours of rude harassment that he became angry, which is the only [part] people saw.”
Meanwhile, Roy Black — a criminal defense attorney who represents Bieber in his Miami DUI case — has also blasted Binion’s lawyer.
Black criticized the scope of questions covered by DiCowden in the deposition and said he asked questions “that had nothing to do with the case.”
He also criticized the leak of the video clips saying, “He has absolutely no privacy. There’s absolutely no protection for somebody like Justin.”
For their part, DiCowden and Adler are fighting back at claims of harassment although they haven’t commented on Page Six’s report.
TMZ reports, DiCowden believes actress-singer Selena Gomez — who dated Justin from 2010 to 2013, and is thought to have reunited with the heartthrob — is supposedly aware Bieber has an alleged history of violence, especially with photographers.
In addition Gossip Extra reports, Binion’s lawyer has filed a motion with Miami-Dade County Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel today to,
“Order Justin Bieber to submit to additional deposition questions within 30 days concerning Selena Gomez.”
This could see Bieber being questioned for hours solely about Gomez.
Binion’s lawyer has also filed a motion to ban Howard Weitzman and Jeremiah Reynolds from representing Bieber in that deposition, if one is granted, on grounds that,
“The California lawyers acted in bad faith and adversely impacted the administration of justice,” when they advised Bieber to leave the deposition during questioning by opposing counsel.
The paperwork notes Gomez was a witness to May 2012 incident when Justin was accused of assault by a paparazzo called Jose Osmin Hernandez Duran. The photog claims he was drop-kicked by Bieber after he took photos of the then 18-year-old and Selena when they were out on a date at a shopping center in Calabasas, California.
After Duran filed a complaint, the Los Angeles District Attorney declined to press charges against Bieber. In a November 2012 statement, the department said out of all the videos and photographs taken at the scene and statements from the emergency workers who attended, all agreed there was nothing indicating a physical altercation took place.
Duran has since filed a civil assault and battery case in June 2013 and is seeking damages.
There are 270 minutes in total to see of Bieber’s deposition video. Given that less than 45 minutes of the deposition has been seen to date, it will be interesting to see all the footage to context Bieber’s behavior. For instance, the clip below was not posted by TMZ and reveals the singer calmly answering questions early on in the hearing.
Do you think money was exchanged to “set up” Bieber and leak sensationalist-only videos from the deposition?
Sound off in comments below.