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Justin Bieber files harassment complaint against photographer

Teen pop sensation Justin Bieber is seen during an interview with Bill Weir for an episode of ABC's 'Nightline,' which aired on Tuesday, June 26, 2012. (Donna Svennevik)
July 9, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Justin Bieber has filed a harassment complaint against one of the paparazzi who chased him down a Los Angeles freeway last week.

The lawsuit claims the photographer was an extremely aggressive driver and put several lives in danger.

Bieber, driving his $100,000-plus chrome-plated Fisker Karma, was pulled over for speeding in Studio City last Friday. L.A. City Councilman Dennis Zine called police after spotting Bieber, with a gaggle of paparazzi hot on his tail, "going close to 100 mph" and weaving through traffic on the 101 Freeway near Coldwater Canyon around 10:30 a.m.

"When it passed me, it had to be going close to 100 mph. Every time when there was a little space, it would make a lane change, then there were all these cars following," said Zine. "I was anticipating that someone would ultimately crash because they couldn't continue. They were driving on the right shoulder, passing cars on the right shoulder. It was chaos."

California Highway Patrol officers pulled Bieber off the freeway at Vineland and cited him for driving over 65 miles per hour.

The CHP says moments after the incident, Bieber called 911 to say that he was once again being followed by the paparazzi. Because of that complaint, investigators are now considering charges against the photographers involved.

This isn't the first paparazzi problem for the 18-year-old pop sensation. On May 27, he got into a physical altercation with a photographer at The Commons in Calabasas. L.A. prosecutors told ABC News they are still deciding whether to file charges against Bieber in the May incident.

"When you're a big star, paparazzi are a nightmare. They're a pain in your butt," said Howard Bragman, an entertainment consultant for ABC News.

He says media harassment is still a big problem, even though California passed an anti-paparazzi law nearly two years ago. Photographers found breaking traffic laws or interfering with the operation of a celebrity's car can now be fined up to $5,000 or sentenced to a year in jail.

But Bragman says celebrities will always attract media attention if they're doing something that will make the paparazzi money.

"By engaging them and getting in a chase, number one - he's putting himself at risk, number two - he's putting other people at risk, and number three - it's only stirring the paparazzi on because they're going to follow him because he may get into a crash," said Bragman, adding that the pop sensation will just have to get used to being followed by people with cameras.

"Justin Bieber swinging or yelling, these are worth a lot of money. Justin Bieber being a cool, mellow guy - not quite as much money," Bragman continued. "So he's got to start to work more for himself and understand what his actions are doing to inspire the paparazzi."

Bieber has also been pulled over several times for traffic infractions, including speeding and making an illegal U-turn from the middle lane.


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