Pop singer Bruno Mars will plead guilty to felony cocaine possession in exchange for no jail time and the possibility of having the charge wiped from his record in a year, the Grammy nominee told a judge Friday in Las Vegas.
Mars, 25, was arrested Sept. 19 in a bathroom at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino after a performance. Police said he handed over a bag containing 2.6 grams of cocaine, telling the arresting officer he'd never used drugs before.
The judge set a Feb. 14 court date for the plea, which will come the day after the "Just the Way You Are" singer, real name Peter Hernandez, performs at the Grammy Awards. Mars' seven nominations include record of the year for "Nothin' on You," his tune with B.o.B; song of the year for co-writing Cee Lo Green's "... You"; and best male pop performance for "Just the Way You Are."
Mars will be on the hook for a $2,000 fine, drug counseling and 200 hours of community service, and if he keeps his nose clean (so to speak) for a year the conviction will disappear.
Compare that to fellow first-time offender Paris Hilton's deal: After a DUI traffic stop -- she wasn't driving -- 0.8 gram of cocaine fell out of her purse in front of an officer who'd escorted her to the ladies room. Arrested on felony counts, Hilton pleaded guilty to misdemeanor possession and obstruction of justice, and got the same fine and community service, and a year probation.
Hilton might envy Mars' no-record option: Her drug conviction kept her out of Japan mere hours after she left court in September.
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-- Christie D'Zurilla
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Photo: Bruno Mars appears at the Clark County Regional Justice Center Friday to waive his preliminary hearing on felony drug possession charges in Las Vegas. Credit: Ethan Miller / Getty Images