The police station footage included clips of Bieber giving a
urine sample behind a low wall.
Miami-Dade County Judge William Altfield ordered that about 10
hours of police surveillance video not be released until he has
been able to review them in his chambers.
"Do you believe that the public has the right to ... see Justin
Bieber urinating?" the judge asked attorneys representing
several large media companies seeking access to the video under
Florida's broad public records law.
"I don't think the public has a right to see his penis," replied
Scott Ponce, an attorney for the Miami Herald and CBS.
"I believe the public has a right to see him standing behind a
wall doing what we know is urinating," he added, noting that
Bieber's urine test was part of the evidence in the DUI case.
At issue are four short clips of Bieber urinating at the police
If Bieber's genitalia are visible in the videos, authorities
should release the clips after blacking out his private parts,
Attorneys representing Bieber disagreed.
"I find the argument to be insulting and demeaning of the court
... to just fuzz out the private parts," replied Howard Srebnick,
one of Bieber's attorneys.
Judge Altfield said he would review the video and announce his
decision at a March 4 hearing. He also postponed Bieber's March
3 DUI trial until March 17.
Bieber, 19, was charged with driving under the influence,
resisting arrest and using an expired license after Miami Beach
police say they caught him drag racing on January 23. He has
pleaded not guilty to the charges and did not attend the hearing
Besides a small amount of alcohol, he had marijuana and
prescription medication for anxiety in his system at the time of
his arrest, according to the state attorney's office.
One video showing Bieber being patted down by a Miami Beach
police officer was released to the media in early February,
prompting his attorneys to file a motion to prevent any more
such images from being released.
[to top of second column]
"While in custody at the Miami Beach police station,
the defendant was captured on videotape in various states of undress
which show intimate personal parts of the defendant's body,"
according to the motion filed earlier this month in Miami-Dade
The motion said the Florida constitution and state law protected su
Releasing video from Bieber's brief time in custody
would cause "irreparable harm," the teen's lawyers say.
Attorneys for several major media companies, including CNN, the
Orlando Sentinel and the Associated Press, deny Bieber has the right
to privacy under Florida's Public Records Act, according to court
Reuters is not a party to the case.
Under Florida law, all evidence including photos and videos became
public record once they are handed to the defense.
"Florida courts have long recognized that government records are
presumptively open, and that the Public Records Act is to be
construed liberally in favor of access," Deanna Shullman, an
attorney representing the media, said in court documents.
Florida courts "reject the notion that simply
alleging embarrassment alone is sufficient grounds to trump Public
Records Act disclosure mandates," Shullman wrote.
Herald and CBS attorney Ponce pointed to Bieber's own website, which
he said included a photo of Bieber urinating and exposing his bare
behind, as well as another image of the performer urinating in a mop
bucket at a New York restaurant.
Bieber, whose private life has taken a seemingly tumultuous turn in
the past year, was also charged last week with assaulting a
limousine driver in Toronto in December.
The Miami case is State of Florida v Justin Drew Bieber, B14-2900.
(Additional reporting by Zachary
Fagenson; editing by Lisa Von Ahn, Jonathan Oatis and G Crosse)
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