As the Justin Bieber battery story shuffles into day three, it continues to draw vastly conflicting versions of events from a variety of unnamed sources.
It’s alleged that the singer spat at a neighbor and threatened to kill him during an “intense” altercation at his home in Calabasas, California on Tuesday, just hours after flying home from a concert in Lodz, Poland.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Steve Whitmore confirms deputies arrived at The Oaks gated community in Calabasas where both Bieber and the accuser live at 9:08 am, in response to a report of battery and threats.
The neighbor — reportedly a 47-year-old businessman — told on-site police that he confronted Bieber at his home about his “unbelievably reckless” driving and that the singer allegedly shouted, “Get the f**k out of here,” before spitting in his face then said, “I’m gonna f**king kill you.”
“[He] has complained Mr. Bieber spit [sic] on him and made some threats,” Whitmore told the LA Times. “Mr. Bieber’s people say that it did not happen. Obviously, our detectives will determine what happened and take appropriate action.”
Yesterday, the wife of the neighbor alleging battery backed up her husband’s story that the argument was over the singer racing his Ferrari around the local area on Tuesday morning, telling KTLA News Bieber was “just being a punk.”
No arrests have been made and L.A. detectives are investigating. On Tuesday, Whitmore said that the alleged battery did not involve “physical touching.”
Under California law spitting qualifies as a misdemeanor battery charge.
According to TMZ, a source close to Bieber told the website that the singer is not denying that there was an argument, but says “no spit ever left his mouth” and he did not make any threats of violence towards the neighbor.
In addition, Fox News reports that one person in Bieber’s camp claims that it was the neighbor who allegedly laid a finger on the singer.
On a more speculative note, Radar Online is reporting that another Calabasas resident claims the complainant neighbor is close to yet another neighbor who planned to sell pictures and stories about Bieber to media outlets.
Today TMZ is reporting that an eye-witness — reportedly a landscaper who was working on a house under construction directly opposite to Bieber’s home — claims to have seen the 19-year-old spit in the neighbor’s face.
Meanwhile, Gawker reports that it received an e-mail from a source claiming to be “very close” to the accusing neighbor who corroborates that the singer spat at the neighbor.
While Reuters reports that numerous unnamed sources claim the neighbor was more upset over parties thrown by friends of the singer while he was touring, E! News quotes an unnamed neighbor as saying:
“While [he] wasn’t home at the time of the alleged incident Justin is actually not that bad of a neighbor, he is never around,” adding that he, “hasn’t heard any loud parties when Bieber is out of town … mostly just bodyguards stay there.”
However, the E!News source also said: “I’ve heard people complain about his driving.”
Whitmore said his department is aware of the reckless driving claims but noted the allegations may involve people staying at Bieber’s home and may not have been committed by the singer himself.
Criminal defense expert Troy Slaten tells E! News that if the singer is convicted of the offense of battery, he could be looking at a maximum $1000 fine and six months in jail — although Slaten says a sentence of anger management classes and community service is more likely.
This latest alleged drama is a significant escalation in a laundry list of fraught incidents for the pop star ranging from persistent shirtlessness, a late concert showing, a backstage collapse, and a expletive filled run-in with a paparazzo at the end of a “rough week” on the London leg of his Believe world tour.
Bieber has been repeatedly cited for speeding and was accused of assaulting a paparazzo in May 2012, although those charges were later dropped. In a recent interview with US Weekly, the embattled singer addressed the tide of negative headlines he has been receiving.
“The biggest misconception about me is that I’m a bad person. I get upset about that,” he said. “I have a big heart. I want to be a good role model, but some people want me to fail.”
“I know who I am and I’m not gonna let negativity towards me bring me down. I’m a positive person and I plan on staying that way.”
As yet there has been no comment from Bieber’s representative Melissa Victor about the battery investigation.