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

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

Avery Sunshine is known for her irresistible combination of soul, jazz and gospel influences. She’s traveled the world entertaining audiences with her powerful voice, inspiring lyrics and infectious spirit. She joins host Shawna Renee on "The Soul Lounge" to perform and share the stories behind her new album, "The Sun Room."