News / Arts & Entertainment

In Double Legal Trouble, Bieber Tests Positive for Pot, Meds

Pop singer Justin Bieber arrives at a police station in Toronto, Jan. 29, 2014.
Pop singer Justin Bieber arrives at a police station in Toronto, Jan. 29, 2014.
Reuters
Teen pop star Justin Bieber, facing charges in the United States and Canada, had pot and anti-anxiety medication in his system when arrested in Florida last week but told police his mother “takes care” of his prescriptions, according to official reports released Thursday.
 
Bieber was charged late on Wednesday with assaulting a limousine driver in Toronto and the Toronto Star newspaper reported Thursday that the driver in the alleged assault in December quit his job “in shock” following the incident.
 
As his legal troubles mounted, camera crews and fans were camped outside a downtown Toronto hotel where they thought the 19-year-old Canadian was holed up. He made no appearances and his representatives declined to comment.
 
The doe-eyed “Boyfriend” singer has had a turbulent year with scuffles with paparazzi in London and a felony investigation into whether he pelted a neighbor's house with eggs. The charges over the last week now put Bieber at risk of serving jail time.
 
On Thursday, a report by the Miami-Dade Office of the State Attorney said Bieber had marijuana and prescription medication for anxiety in his system when he was arrested in Miami Beach.
 
The preliminary report did not detail the amount of marijuana and alprazolam, better known as the anti-anxiety medication Xanax, that Bieber had in his system. Police have said he failed a field sobriety test after they had caught him allegedly drag racing on Jan. 23.
 
Bieber has pleaded not guilty to driving under the influence, resisting arrest without violence and driving on an expired license. If convicted, he could face up to six months in jail, although a maximum penalty is unlikely because it would be his first offense.
 
The singer, who is under the U.S. legal drinking age of 21, also had a minimal amount of alcohol in his system but had difficulty performing a breathalyzer test, police said in an affidavit.
 
Bieber also said he did not know what kind of anxiety medication he'd taken as he did not know what he was prescribed.
 
“Well, my mom takes care of all that stuff for me,” Bieber told police, according to the affidavit.
 
In the field sobriety test report, police said that Bieber had the odor of alcohol on his breath, bloodshot eyes and a flushed face. His attitude was profane, insulting and cocky.
 
Bieber's highest blood-alcohol content during the four tests administered was 0.014, below the 0.02 legal limit for those under 21 in Florida. The limit for drivers 21 and over is 0.08.
 
Police said Bieber “continuously forgot basic instructions,” and they believed he was purposefully not taking the test correctly. He performed the breathalyzer exam correctly only after police told him he would lose his license if he “refused” the test, according to the affidavit.
 
When told he “reeked” of marijuana, Bieber said: “Yeah, we were smoking all night at the studio.”
 
Limo Driver 'Assaulted in the Head'
 
The Toronto assault charge stems from an incident in the early hours of Dec. 30 when Bieber and five others were picked up outside a Toronto nightclub. His Canadian lawyer said in a statement that Bieber is innocent.
 
Police alleged the driver was struck on the back of the head several times on the way to a hotel. Bieber left the scene before police arrived, they alleged in a statement.
 
Tony Albert, the manager of Park Lane Livery limousines, which operated the limo, told the Toronto Star the driver quit his job shortly after the incident.
 
The driver is “in shock. Something like this does not happen in Toronto,” Albert told the newspaper. He declined to disclose his identity on the advice of legal counsel.
 
An employee at the company told Reuters that Albert was not immediately available to confirm the report.
 
“We do club runs every weekend in Toronto - even with the drunkies we never faced this kind of problem, the driver getting physically assaulted in the head,” he said.
 
Bieber was charged after appearing at a Toronto police station late Wednesday, arriving in a black SUV and met by a crowd of journalists and screaming fans.
 
An assault conviction in Canada has a maximum sentence of five years, but experts doubted the maximum would be imposed.
 
Bieber's legal team said they expect the matter will be treated as a summary offense, which is the equivalent of a misdemeanor in the United States.
 
The singer had at least one defender on Thursday who knows something about negative attention: fellow Canadian and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.
 
Ford, who has become a staple of late-night comics since he admitted in November that he had smoked crack cocaine while in a “drunken stupor,” defended Bieber on Thursday during an interview on a Washington, D.C., radio show called Sports Junkies.
 
“Well, you know what, he's a young guy,” said Ford. “He's 19 years old, guys. Think back to when you were 19.”

You May Like

Photogallery Oxfam: Ebola Could Be 'Disaster of Our Generation'

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba, says the Caribbean island nation will 'gladly cooperate' with the US in the fight against Ebola in West Africa More

Multimedia Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

Refugees receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed More

India’s Ruling Nationalist Party Makes Gains in Regional Elections

Bharatiya Janata Party’s huge margin over its rivals puts it on course to form governments in the northern Haryana and western Maharashtra states More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fighti
X
Zana Omer
October 18, 2014 6:37 PM
The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.
Video

Video Church for Atheists Goes Global

Atheists, by definition, do not believe in God. So they should have no need of a church. But two years ago, a pair of British stand-up comedians decided to create one. Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans told the BBC they envisioned “something like church but without God". Their “Sunday Assembly” movement has grown from a single congregation in London to dozens of churches around the world. Reporter Mike Osborne visited with the members of a Sunday Assembly that now meets regularly in Nashville.
Video

Video Robot Locates Unexploded Underwater Mines

Many educators believe that hands-on experience is the best way to learn. Proving that the method works is a project developed by a group of students at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey. They rose up to a challenge posted by the U.S. Department of Defense and successfully designed and built an underwater robot for locating submerged unexploded ordnance. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's JFK Hospital Reopens After Temporary Ebola Exposure

JFK Hospital is Liberia’s largest and one of its oldest medical facilities. The hospital had to close temporarily following the deaths of two leading doctors from Ebola. It is now getting back on its feet, with the maternity ward being the first section to reopen. Benno Muchler has more for VOA News from Monrovia.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Expose Generation Gap

Most of the tens of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong are students seeking democracy. Idealistic youths say while the older generation worries about the present, they are fighting for the territory's future. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Hong Kong.
Video

Video Liberians Living in US Struggle From Afar as Ebola Ravages Homeland

More than 8,000 Liberians live in New York City, more than in any other city outside of Liberia itself. As VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports, with the Ebola virus ravaging their homeland, there is no peace of mind for these New Yorkers.
Video

Video Kurds See War-Ravaged Kobani As Political, Emotional Heartland

Intense fighting is continuing between Islamic State militants -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- and Kurdish forces around the Syrian town of Kobani, on the Turkish border. The U.S. said it carried out at least nine airstrikes against Islamic State positions Friday. Meanwhile the U.N. has warned that hundreds of civilians would be massacred if the town falls to the militants. Henry Ridgwell looks at the strategic significance of the city.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Border Crossings

Joe Taylor sits down with "Border Crossings" host Larry London to talk about his distinction as New York’s “Subway Idol,” and how he beat out thousands for that title. Joe performs several songs from his new CD, “Anything’s Possible.”