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Belieb it: Paparazzo faces criminal charges in Justin Bieber freeway chase

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Singer Justin Bieber poses for fans while signing autographs at a press event at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center on January 11.

A paparazzo faces reckless driving and other charges in the Justin Bieber 101 freeway chase chaos of early July.

On Wednesday, Los Angeles City Attorney, Carmen Trutanich, issued this statement:

Paul Raef, 30, a self-employed freelance paparazzo, was charged with the following four charges: two counts of Vehicle Code section 40008 (a), for both following another vehicle too closely and reckless driving, with the intent to capture pictures for commercial gain; one count of reckless driving; and one count of failing to obey the lawful order of a peace officer. If convicted, Defendant Raef could face up to one year in the county jail and fines totaling $3,500.


In determining whether to file charges, the City Attorney’s Office considered, among other things, the Defendant’s disregard for the safety of others on the road and the Defendant’s prior criminal history.


The case represents the first prosecution in the State under AB 2479. In 2010, the California legislature passed AB 2479 (D-Karen Bass), which imposes additional penalties on paparazzi driving dangerously in search of photos or video images for commercial gain. Arraignment is scheduled for August 9 in Department 103 of the Van Nuys Superior Court.

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Dennis Zine doesn't want publicity for Bieber freeway 'chase'

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18-year-old Justin Bieber was pulled over by CHP officers near Vineland and Ventura on Friday morning for recklessly driving his Leonardo DiCaprio-championed luxury hybrid Fisker Karma on the 101 Freeway.

The star-studded citation doesnt end there, however. The witness who called 911 on the teenager was L.A. City Councilman Dennis Zine, a former LAPD motor officer for 18 years.

Zine told KPCC's Alice Walton he was cruising the 101 at about 65 mph when he spotted the pop star "coming up like a rocket ship," followed by a group of cars.  

The councilman, who likened the incident to "a chase scene," believes if it would have continued, "someone would have been injured or killed," saying, "I’ve seen too many dead bodies...I take this very personal because I’ve seen the consequences of this type of behavior." 

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