Remaining police video clips of Justin Bieber after his January arrest will be made public with sensitive portions blacked out to protect the singer’s privacy, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Miami-Dade County Judge William Altfield said two of the five unreleased video clips depict the singer’s genitalia during a urine test for drugs at the Miami Beach Police Department. Altfield agreed with lawyers for Bieber, who turned 20 on Saturday, that the video’s airing would be an invasion of privacy that outweighed the public’s right to know.
“Mr. Bieber’s right to privacy is paramount,” the judge said. “He has not lost his right to privacy, and that is what is important here.”
Attorneys for The Associated Press and other news outlets had previously suggested any sensitive portions be blacked out and the rest released under Florida’s liberal open records laws. Much of the footage was released last week, some of it showing Bieber walking unsteadily during a sobriety test.
Bieber has pleaded not guilty to charges of driving under the influence, resisting arrest and driving with an expired license. He and R&B singer Khalil Amir Sharieff were arrested early on Jan. 23 during what police called an illegal street drag race between a Lamborghini and a Ferrari. Neither has been charged with drag racing.
Bieber attorney Roy Black said he was satisfied with the ruling, as did media attorneys. AP attorney Deanna Shullman said the news organization would never show Bieber’s private parts and Scott Ponce, representing The Miami Herald and CBS television stations, said the ruling was more about protecting the singer from random releases on the Internet.
“It’s more about what someone in the private sector might do,” Ponce said.
Black said the three clips to be released without redaction are shot from an angle that is too far away to discern what is going on. Prosecutors said they will release all five remaining clips in a few days, after the court-ordered redactions are completed.
Separately, the Miami Beach Police Department made public a new batch of 18 still photos taken shortly after Bieber’s arrest, mainly close-ups of his many tattoos — a praying Jesus, a grinning joker’s face accompanied by the word “love,” an Indian chief’s head, a Psalms quotation, and more — and one full-length picture of the singer.
Evidence released previously showed that a breath test found Bieber’s blood-alcohol level below the .02 threshold considered intoxicated for underage drivers. The urine test found the presence of the active ingredient in marijuana and the antianxiety drug Xanax. Bieber told officers he had been smoking marijuana before his arrest, according to police reports.
A trial date has not been set. Altfield set another status conference for next week in the case.