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Paparazzo in Justin Bieber pursuit headed to court

August 24, 2012 |  7:47 am

Justin Bieber
A freelance paparazzo accused of chasing pop star Justin Bieber on the 101 Freeway at high speeds was scheduled Friday to appear in a Van Nuys court to plead to four charges.

Paul Raef, 30, faces two counts of following a vehicle too closely and reckless driving with the intent to take pictures for commercial gain, one count of reckless driving and one count of failing to obey the order of a peace officer.

The Los Angeles city attorney filed charges last month after reviewing Raef's criminal history and noting his "disregard for the safety of others on the road," officials said.

Raef is the first paparazzo to be charged under a 2010 state law that adds penalties on paparazzi driving dangerously for images they will sell, according to the Los Angeles city attorney's office.

He is accused of chasing the famous pop star on the 101 Freeway in the San Fernando Valley and then speeding off when police tried to pull both Bieber and Raef over.

L.A. City Councilman Dennis Zine, among those calling 911 to report the July 6 chase involving Bieber's Fisker sports car, said that as a former traffic officer he would have arrested Bieber and his pursuers for reckless driving.

Bieber was cited for speeding and is expected in court in September.

If convicted, Raef could face up to one year in the county jail and fines up to $3,500.


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-- Melissa Leu

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Photo: Justin Bieber. Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images