Justin Bieber has been judge summoned to appear before an Argentine court over an alleged assault of a club photographer by the singer’s bodyguards.
Magistrate Facundo Cubas has given Bieber a 60-day deadline to return to Buenos Aires to appear before a court to answer probes on the alleged incident, after state prosecutors formally requested the order.
According to the ruling, Cubas requested the help of Argentina’s Interpol branch to use all “necessary means” to notify the singer that he has 60 days to appear before the court.
Interpol can notify the singer but cannot force him to appear; however, the judge stated he will issue an international arrest order if Bieber does not attend the court, or provide it with a justifiable reason for his absence.
The alleged assault during the singer’s South America leg of his Believe world tour back in 2013.
According to local reports, Buenos Aires prosecutors wants to grill Bieber about an attack on photog Diego Pesoa — allegedly by his bodyguards — outside a club in the Argentine capital last November.
Prosecutor Martin Lopez formally asked a judge to issue an international arrest warrant to enforce the return of Bieber to Argentina, so he can be questioned as to whether or not he ordered or encouraged his bodyguards’ alleged assault of Pesoa.
TMZ report Bieber could serve up to one year in jail if he is found guilty of the charges. It is unclear, however, whether potential charges against Bieber have merit.
Pesoa claims the heartthrob’s security punched and kicked him and damaged his camera equipment as the pop singer exited Buenos Aires’ club INK on the morning of November 9, after his first concert in the country.
At the time, Mexico’s El Universal reported Pesoa and other paparazzi snapped Bieber as he left INK escorted by his guards and shrouded by a black sheet. The singer allegedly got into a van filled with what the Associated Press described as “young girls.”
A video clip of the alleged assault was posted and allegedly shows Pesoa being chased across a street, knocked to ground and punched and kicked by a group of men moments after they flanked Bieber’s club departure.
Agence France-Press reported Pesoa’s lawyer — Matias Morla — alleged Bieber “gave the order to beat him and then got back in his van.”
However, such an order is not heard on the video footage, and Morla has a vested interest in the case.
Pesoa, who reportedly contacted police before going to hospital, said at the time:
The photographer added, “He began to run after me and half a block away he punched me in the head before kicking me in the stomach as I was laying on the ground.”
“When I tried to get away, I realised that instead of just one [bodyguard] there were seven or eight guards behind me. I’ve got cuts all the way up my arm and bruises on my stomach and my head hurts.”
Just days after the attack, Argentine Judge Maria Giraudi ordered that Bieber’s belongings be held after Pesoa filed a suit for damages alleging assault and damage to his camera.
A customs source speaking to AFP on the condition of anonymity, previously said:
“It is the first time Argentine customs has impounded belongings of a foreign artist.”
“Customs impounded all Bieber’s goods for 30 days at the Ezeiza International Airport: audio equipment, sound, lights and the clothes he used in his show,” the source added.
A number of headline making incidents plagued the singer’s South America run.
After leaving Ink, during his concert at Argentina’s River Plate stadium hours later, Justin’s mishandling of two Argentine flags onstage caused outrage and led to him apologizing just four days later.
Shortly after his show, video surfaced online depicting the singer kicking the flag and using his mic stand to wipe it off the stage in a mop-like fashion until stagehands took it away.
In nine tweets posted on November 13, 2013, Justin wrote:
“I don’t like having to defend myself but this time it was needed as I mean no disrespect.”
One of the sanctions for “disgracing” Argentina’s flag is up four years in prison.
Justin was also forced to pull out of his last concert in Buenos Aires on November 10, after suffering from food poisoning, although he did attempt to perform for nearly 35 minutes.
On his way to the same River Plate stadium, Bieber Instagrammed and tweeted a picture which showed him hooked up to an intravenous drip.
(Photo: Justin Bieber Instagram]
The audience booed and howled their disappointment after the singer came out and told them he could not continue performing.
After arriving in Buenos Aires, Justin was asked to leave the Faena Hotel after fans broke barricades, screamed outside and disturbed other guests.
Before jetting into Argentina, Bieber left his Sao Paulo concert in Brazil before the encore after a plastic bottle was thrown at him, knocking a mic from his hand.
After leaving Brazil, the singer was later charged with “vandalism” when he was filmed and photographed spray-painting a disused hotel wall in Rio.
Bieber also popped up in a video that showed him sleeping and was clearly filmed without his consent by a Brazilian prostitute, who claimed she slept with the singer at a party at his private villa.
The singer was spotted leaving a Rio brothel on November 1, although a rep later claimed Bieber’s group went to the club for drinks and were unaware of the nature of the venue’s illicit business.
— MATIAS MORLA (@MatiasMorlaAb) November 13, 2014