Sweet Yeezus, Will Kanye Do Time for Attacking Paparazzi?
Rapper and new dad Kanye West has been charged with two criminal counts for allegedly attacking a photographer at the Los Angeles airport in July.
In the incident, a photographer tries to stop Kanye saying, “Kanye, can we talk to you?” Kanye ignores him and the photographer continues, asking “What’s up with all that stuff? Do you just want to quash all that stuff, because you’re a cool guy? Why can’t we talk to you?”
It’s unclear what “stuff” he was referring to, but clearly the conversation was continued from an earlier encounter.
When Kanye turns around, the photographer says “C’mon Kanye, I really don’t want to fight with you.”
The Grammy-winning rapper then stops and calmly says, “You’re trying to get me in trouble, so I’ll step off and have to pay you like $250,000.”
But then Kanye lunges at the photographer in what the camera captures as some kind of scuffle.
The criminal charges are battery and attempted theft.
Each of the two misdemeanor charges carries a maximum sentence of six months in jail and $1,000 fine and arraignment is set for October 10.
Even though Kanye — who dropped a new album, Yeezus, and a new baby, North West, in the same week in June — has had other altercations with photographers, the chances that he will do jail time are slim, according to Scot Candell, a criminal defense attorney who practices in San Rafael, Calif.
If he did intentionally tussle with the photographer, Kanye is likely to get convicted on the battery charge. But if he doesn’t have a criminal record, he can probably complete a program and get the conviction dismissed, said Candell, who noted that Kanye could be punished more harshly because of prior incidents.
Like many states, California has diversion programs where a criminal defendant can erase a conviction after performing community service or, what may be a propos in this case, attending anger management classes.
The attempted theft charge is unlikely to stick, given that a prosecutor must prove that Kanye intended to steal the camera and make it his own.
“If he wanted to take it and run with it, it’s theft. But if he wanted to break it or throw it on the ground, that’s not theft,” said Candell.
In some ways, Kanye was right. At least the part about writing a check to the photographer.
Daniel Ramos, the photographer allegedly injured in the incident, has hired celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred who has filed a lawsuit against Kanye for assault, battery and interference with his free speech rights.
He asking for punitive damages and asking a court for a restraining order preventing Kanye from “touching, striking, annoying, molesting, contacting, attacking, or threatening” Ramos or any other photographers.