Paparazzo Charged in High-Speed Bieber Chase

by Krista Wick 3:09 PM PDT, July 25, 2012
Photo: Getty Images

Paul Raef, a freelance paparazzo involved in the July 6 freeway pursuit of Justin Bieber, has been formally hit with four criminal counts of reckless driving by the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office.

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The charges were announced formally on Wednesday via a statement from the City Attorney's office and include one count of following another vehicle too closely, one count of reckless driving with the intent to capture pictures for commercial gain, one count of reckless driving, and one count of failing to obey the lawful order of a peace officer.

Raef, 30, was one of six drivers who were pursuing Bieber that day along the 101 Freeway in the San Fernando Valley, trailing the singer at speeds "well in excess of 80 mph."

The photographer in question was motioned to pull over by CHP along with Bieber, but managed to evade the officer who later issued the superstar with a speeding citation.

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According to the statement, Raef resumed his pursuit of Bieber shortly after, which prompted the singer's second 911 call of the day, ultimately resulting in the apprehension of the paparazzo.

This marks the very first time someone has been prosecuted under California's AB 2479, which imposes additional penalties on paparazzi driving dangerously in search of photos or video images for commercial gain.

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