A South Florida judge said Thursday he will review police video made shortly after Justin Bieber's recent Miami Beach arrest to determine if some portions should be withheld from the public, particularly clips depicting the singer urinating into a cup as part of a drug test.
Miami-Dade Judge William Altfield said after a hearing he will privately review some of the roughly 10 hours of Miami Beach Police video taken after Bieber's Jan. 23 arrest. The Associated Press, The Miami Herald and other media organizations are seeking release of the video, arguing there is no exemption in Florida's generous open records law allowing it to be kept under wraps.
"The right of privacy cannot trump the right of access to public records," said Deanna Shullman, the attorney for the AP and several other media outlets. "My clients have no interest in showing Mr. Bieber's private parts. You have to redact that and release the rest."
Still, Shullman and Scott Ponce, who represents the Herald and Miami's CBS station, agreed with Altfield's plan to review the four clips that show Bieber urinating into the cup, as did state prosecutors.
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Bieber's attorneys are seeking to keep the images private. Attorney Howard Srebnick said he found it "insulting" that the videos could be released perhaps with only Bieber's nether regions censored, contending even that was a violation of privacy.
"There's no reason why the media should make a spectacle of that event," Srebnick said.
Altfield said he would hold another hearing on the matter March 4, meaning the current March 3 trial date for Bieber will be delayed. But the judge said if the various sides could agree on release of non-objectionable video material, that should be done by Wednesday.
"It's prudent for us to make sure we're all on the same page, all of us," he said.
Earlier this month, authorities released surveillance video of the singer being processed after the Miami Beach arrest. The video shows Bieber removing his shoes, socks and black hoodie before he's patted down by an officer.
Bieber has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges of DUI, resisting arrest and driving with an expired license. Police say he and singer Khalil Amir Sharieff were involved in an illegal street drag race.
Police said Bieber cursed repeatedly at a police officer after the 4:09 a.m. traffic stop and acknowledged smoking marijuana, drinking and taking an unknown prescription medication. The Miami Beach Police reports, however, show that Bieber was given four alcohol breath tests, with the first two not usable because of insufficient volume of breath.
The third test, administered at 5:37 a.m., showed an alcohol reading of .014 and a fourth, at 5:40 a.m., came up at .011. Both are under the .02 limit in Florida for a driver under the legal drinking age of 21. The limit for drivers above that age is .08.
Police later said a toxicology test detected marijuana and Xanax in his system.
The other news organizations advocating for release of the video are the Orlando Sentinel; Scripps Media Inc. representing the Naples Daily News, the St. Lucie News Tribune, Stuart News, TCPalm.com, the Vero Beach Press Journal, WPTV-TV and WFTS-TV; and the Sun Sentinel Co.