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Justin Bieber charged with assault in Canada


TORONTO (AP) - Justin Bieber was charged Wednesday with assault for allegedly hitting a Toronto limousine driver several times in the back of the head last month, just hours after his attorney entered a separate not guilty plea in Florida to drunken-driving and other charges.

Bieber turned himself in to a Toronto police station, arriving amid a crush of media and screaming fans. He was charged with one count of assault and is scheduled to appear in court in Toronto on March 10.

Police allege Bieber was one of six people who were picked up by a limousine from a nightclub in the early morning hours of Dec. 30, and there was an altercation while en route to a hotel.

Police said during the altercation one of the passengers hit the limo driver in the back of the head several times.

"The driver stopped the limousine, exited the vehicle and called police," a statement said. "The man who struck him left the scene before police arrived."

Howard Weitzman, Bieber's attorney in California, said his client is innocent and declined to comment on the allegations against Bieber or any potential defense, saying it was now a matter for the court to handle.

Weitzman said he expects the case to be treated as a summary offense, which is the equivalent of a misdemeanor in the United States. "The Toronto Police Service requested that Justin Bieber appear in Toronto today to face an allegation of assault relating to an incident on December 29, 2013. We anticipate that this matter will be treated as a summary offense, the equivalent of a misdemeanor in the United States," he said in a statement.

Brian Greenspan, Bieber's Canadian attorney, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Toronto police said in late December they were looking into allegations that a member of Bieber's entourage assaulted a limo driver who was ferrying the Canadian pop star and several others. Police said at the time it was unclear whether Bieber was involved. Bieber emerged from a black SUV wearing a winter coat and a backwards ball cap before being led through a throng of police and reporters. Many waited for his arrival for more than an hour in freezing temperatures. He spent about an hour and a half in the police station before leaving through a back exit.

It was yet another sign of the crazy lifestyle that has taken over Bieber's image.

Earlier on Wednesday, Bieber pleaded not guilty in Florida to charges of driving under the influence after driving nearly twice the speed limit on a Miami Beach street. He also pleaded not guilty to resisting arrest and driving with an expired license.

Court records show that Bieber's attorney filed a written plea in Miami-Dade County. Bieber already has an arraignment set for Feb. 14, but Florida law doesn't require the 19-year-old pop star to be present.

Bieber and R&B singer Khalil Amir Sharieff were arrested last week in Miami Beach during what police described as an illegal street drag race between a Lamborghini and a Ferrari. Neither has been charged with drag racing, which is a crime in Florida.

The Canadian pop star lately has drawn more attention for his brushes with the law than for his music. His arrival at the Toronto police station was no different - the singer debuted a music video for his song "Confident" on Wednesday afternoon, just as news of his expected arrest was breaking.

Bieber remains under investigation for felony vandalism in Los Angeles County over an egg-tossing episode that damaged his neighbor's home. Detectives searched his home on Jan. 14, and prosecutors have sought additional information before determining whether to pursue charges.

The cases have overshadowed the recent release of his latest album. Its reception has been far from the chart-topping success Bieber had after he debuted in 2009, with multiple platinum albums.

Last year, Bieber made headlines for everything from clashing with a paparazzo to fainting at a show to being photographed smoking marijuana. The paparazzo is suing Bieber for assault and battery.

German authorities charged him thousands of dollars after he abandoned a pet monkey that they seized from him for failing to have proper vaccination papers.

The singer also had to apologize to Bill Clinton after cursing the former president and spraying his photo with cleaning fluid in a New York City restaurant kitchen.

Bieber was discovered through a YouTube video of him performing, and his career has been guided by a pair of music industry heavyweights, singer Usher and manager Scooter Braun. He has been nominated for two Grammy Awards for his 2010 full-length album debut "My World 2.0," but his popularity has waned.

Braun tweeted Wednesday evening, "i ask people to be kind and hope for the best in people. not assume the worst. Thanks."

Jon Bollock, a 14-year-old fan waiting for Bieber to arrive outside the Toronto police station, said he wanted to see Bieber but said "it's pretty embarrassing for Canada."

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jwarney123 January 30 2014 at 11:04 AM

Why should Americans be subjected to a individual that really hasn't deserved the right to live in the USA? Usher developed this MONSTER. Just send him and his posse back to Canada. They are gutter people and we have had enough.

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1 reply
kimcrdr jwarney123 January 30 2014 at 11:15 AM

On that note why dont we send all the gutter illegals back to Mexico, Justin is a punk kid that thinks he can do anything he wants, but atleast he pays his own way and pays taxes, I'm tired of supporting illegal mexicans in this country!!!

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1 reply
golf kimcrdr January 30 2014 at 11:30 AM

Me too. But remember, if it wasn't for illegal Mexicans, there would not be anybody to work in the home building industry or cooks in reataurants etc, etc, etc

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majorg1000 January 30 2014 at 11:27 AM

He is his own worst enemy. He will tube his career before he's 25.

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1 reply
chrisw1208 majorg1000 January 30 2014 at 11:43 AM

Have you seen any of these teeny boppers make it once they get older, ugly and their voice starts to crack? Think Jesse Mcarthy, when is the last time you heard about him?

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Steven R. Ross January 30 2014 at 11:27 AM

He is totally out of control, he needs to get some type of medical treatment and assistance from a responsible adult like Usher. If he rufuses to get that, some jail time will help the situation.

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1 reply
hellyon3too Steven R. Ross January 30 2014 at 11:47 AM

What he needed was for his mother to take him out behind the woodshed a few times. He's spoiled rotten and needs a strong dose of reality.

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Clara January 30 2014 at 2:57 PM

Please keep baby Bieber in Canada until he grows up

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Bernie January 30 2014 at 2:55 PM

Get rid of the punk before he causes more trouble. We don't need the talantles, morales little jerk. No one needs him.

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1 reply
elrod.porkmore Bernie January 30 2014 at 3:06 PM

the way to cure people like him is for parents not to buy his cds and don't let their children go to his concerts, they understand no money

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llopezsm January 30 2014 at 11:34 AM

what a "dwieber"...put his butt in jail and hold him accountable for his immature and dangerous behavior NOW.

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fabiolabidwell January 30 2014 at 11:35 AM

He needs SERIOUS HELP BEFORE ITS TOO LATE!

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Dave January 30 2014 at 11:35 AM

He actually still has fans? Wow, amazing!

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lvroftags January 30 2014 at 2:54 PM

First Toronto then Calabasas, Ca., then Miami, Fl., what's next? What 19 year old is responsible? A 19 year old male, raging hormones etc., what do you expect when there is no adult supervision & a Ft. Knox building full of money. If this keeps up it is going to cost him dearly and it's not going to be pretty.

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Rosie January 30 2014 at 2:54 PM

Send this kid back to Canada until he grows up. He is a train wreck! He is a terrible example to your children.

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