Saturday, April 26, 2014
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Surveillance footage from Justin Bieber's home appears to show the pop star high-fiving friends and celebrating after throwing eggs at a neighbor's home in January, an investigator's affidavit released Friday shows.
The description of Bieber's reaction to the incident that authorities say caused thousands of dollars in damage to the neighbor's home is included in documents filed to support a search warrant obtained in March. A Los Angeles County sheriff's detective obtained the warrant for Bieber's account with the online photo-sharing site Instagram, searching for evidence to match his outfit with the surveillance footage.
Prosecutors have not yet decided whether to charge Bieber in the egg-throwing incident, which happened Jan. 9 at the singer's home in a gated community in Calabasas.
Detectives have said the amount of damage to the neighbor's home warrants a felony prosecution of Bieber, which if filed would be the most serious case the troubled pop star has faced. He has been charged with assault in Toronto, and he faces a trial in July on a charge of driving under the influence in Miami.
A man matching Bieber's description is seen on footage running toward the neighbor' house and returning to a group of friends and exchanging high-fives a short time later.
"Suspect Bieber and the other males appeared to be laughing and celebrating," the affidavit signed by Sheriff's detective Ginni Alvarez states.
Alvarez participated in a search of Bieber's home on Jan. 14 in which surveillance footage was retrieved. Two months later, the investigator obtained the search warrant for Bieber's Instagram account, looking for images of the singer in a white sweatshirt and baseball cap that would match surveillance video shot before and after the egg-throwing incident. The warrant does not state whether any footage of Bieber actually throwing eggs at his neighbor's home was retrieved.
Bieber's attorney Howard Weitzman declined comment.
The warrant was first reported by Los Angeles Fox affiliate KTTV on Thursday night.
Bieber, 20, was delayed at Los Angeles International Airport by authorities on Thursday after returning from an international trip. His publicist Melissa Victor confirmed the singer was subjected to "secondary questioning" by customs officials but was released without incident.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Jaime Ruiz said he could not comment on a specific passenger's interactions with agents when entering the country unless the person was charged with a crime.
Bieber frequently posts photos in Instagram, which is owned by Facebook and allows users to post images from their mobile phones. Law enforcement agencies now routinely search suspects' social networking accounts such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter searching for evidence of wrongdoing. If postings are going to be used as evidence in a case, a search warrant is frequently obtained to gather information directly from social networking companies.
Earlier this week, Bieber apologized for offending people after posting two images from the Yasukuni Shrine in Central Tokyo that commemorates 2.5 million war dead, including Japan's 14 convicted war criminals. The site is seen as a symbol of Japan's past militarism and has been criticized by the nation's neighbors, who were subjected to atrocities by Japan's military in the 1930s and 1940s.
Bieber removed photos he posted from the shrine.
Bieber gained stardom with his debut album at age 15, but he has had a string of recent legal troubles. He's scheduled to go on trial in Miami in July on charges of driving under the influence and resisting arrest and the Toronto assault case is also pending.
Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP