By Justine Espersen
The paparazzo who allegedly chased Justin Bieber earlier this month in a high-speed chase along an L.A. freeway is expected to face criminal charges, said the L.A. city attorney’s office Wed. This is the first case filed under California’s anti-paparazzi law.
Freelance photographer Paul Raef, 30, was hit with a total of four counts from the July 6 incident. His charges are as follows from the City Attorney’s office press release:
“…Two counts of Vehicle Cod section 40008 (a), for both following another vehicle too closely and 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.”
According to City Atty. Carmen Trutanich, Raef will be facing up to one year in county jail a $3,500 fine.
Bieber was cited for driving 80 mph and driving recklessly on the 101 Freeway in L.A. while being chased by a pack of photographers. California Highway Patrol (CHP) pulled him over while the rest fled the scene.
According to officials, about 30 minutes after Bieber’s ticketing, he called 911 and said a Toyota Rav 4, which was involved in the earlier chase, was following him. CHP officers discovered the vehicle in a downtown L.A. parking garage and used the license plate to identify Raef as the driver.
“Anytime you do 90, the paparazzi are going to go 90,” Los Angeles City Councilman Dennis Zine told the LA Times, who called 911 to report the incident. “He was going from the fast lane to the slow lane to the shoulder in traffic. It was a very dangerous driving situation. I figured someone was going to crash, so I called 911.”