MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — Pop singer Justin Bieber is back in the spotlight on Tuesday for all the wrong reasons.
There is a hearing on a civil suit brought by photographer Jeffery Binion who claims he was roughed up by one of the Bieb’s bodyguards on the singer’s orders.
The photographer’s attorney Mark DiCowden said at the hearing that he has documented at least 11 similar alleged assaults against photographers over two years involving Bieber and his security personnel. DiCowden said a punitive damage award for Binion could deter future assaults.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel did not immediately rule.
Bieber’s lawyers said Binion is looking for an unwarranted payoff from a frivolous lawsuit.
Binion claims he was assaulted in June 2013 by bodyguard Hugh Hesney while snapping pictures of the star singer outside the Hit Factory recording studio in North Miami Beach.
Binion’s lawsuit claims Bieber “Directed [Hugo] Hesny and three other bodyguards to confront [Binion] and to forcibly take the memory card from [his] camera.”
Hesny reportedly “Threw [Binion] against a wall, began choking him, and threatened [him] with a gun…”
Binion said he had his camera card taken from him as well.
The trial date of May 5th has been set for Bieber who was also charged on January 23, 2014 in Miami Beach with DUI, resisting arrest and possession of an invalid license.
Miami Beach police arrested Bieber after what they said was an illegal street drag race involving exotic cars. The second driver, Khalil Amir Sharieff, a singer with Def Jam Records, was also arrested.
Police later released hours of video of Bieber inside the police station and photos of Bieber in custody.
Breath tests showed that Bieber’s blood-alcohol content was below the 0.02 level considered intoxicated for underage drivers, but a urine test found the presence of marijuana and the antidepressant Xanax.
Bieber has pleaded not guilty to all charges and his attorney has said there is no plea deal under discussion.
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