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What Are Justin Bieber’s Options Now That Mariah Yeater Has Dropped Her Paternity Suit?

Posted by John Mitchell On November - 16 - 2011

Justin Bieber

Perhaps Mariah Yeater read our rundown of the legal actions she could face from falsely accusing Justin Bieber of fathering her newborn child, because the 20-year-old has dropped her paternity suit against the “Mistletoe” singer.

Prior to Yeater’s decision to drop the suit, Bieber’s camp promised to pursue legal action against the California woman. “I can confirm that the team has proactively made arrangements for Justin to be tested upon his return and we’re going to hold everyone who is involved responsible,” Bieber spokesperson Matthew Hiltzik said in a statement. “It’s sad that someone would fabricate malicious, defamatory and demonstrably false claims. We’ll vigorously pursue all available legal remedies to protect Justin and to hold those involved with bringing this suit accountable for their actions.”

Whether that accountability will still include legal action remains unclear. However, according to family law attorney Vicki Ziegler, even though the suit has been dropped, Bieber still has options. “He can still sue for defamation [because] for weeks his reputation was tarnished, but he must prove actual damages. That may be a bit difficult though, i.e. sales drops of his music, receiving hate email, less appearances.”

Yeater’s lawyers, Lance Rogers and Matt Pare, have also reportedly dropped her as a client and will not represent her in any further legal action.

“Bieber can still sue for all of the prior legal actions, but the dismissal was a smart legal move to demonstrate her wrongdoing by alleging Bieber was the father of her child,” Ziegler tells MTV News. “I think Bieber’s camp should send a message to other copycats alike to be forewarned that if a false allegation is made it will be met with a strong legal challenge.”

Ziegler notes that Yeater now finds herself in a Catch-22 situation because if she admits to falsely accusing the star, she also acknowledges lying under oath. In a signed affidavit, Yeater claimed that she had unprotected sex with Bieber backstage following the singer’s October 25, 2010, concert at Los Angeles’ Staples Center resulting in her pregnancy.

Asked what she would advice Yeater to do, Ziegler says, “I may ask Yeater to apologize to Beiber and his fans for falsely accusing him and acknowledging her wrongdoing. But if she does that she’s admitting to perjury or lying under oath in her complaint for paternity.”

Ultimately, Bieber’s decision to pursue further action will hinge on whether he wants to send a message that he will not tolerate false allegations being brought against him. “Beiber can turn this whole nightmare into an awareness matter for celebs and young people,” Ziegler says.

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Legal Expert Weighs In On What Could Happen If Justin Bieber’s Paternity Test Proves He Is Not the Father

Posted by John Mitchell On November - 10 - 2011

Justin Bieber

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that a 20-year-old Mariah Yeater filed suit in San Diego on Halloween claiming she had a sexual encounter with Justin Bieber following his Oct. 25, 2010, concert at Los Angeles’ Staples Center that resulted in her becoming pregnant with his child. Bieber vehemently denies that Yeater’s 3-month-old son is his (or that he has ever even met her) and has agreed to take a paternity test in the case.

“We are encouraged that Justin Bieber will voluntarily take the paternity test,” Yeater’s attorneys Lance Rogers and Matt Pare told TMZ earlier this week. For her part, Yeater is busily making the interview rounds, most recently talking about her alleged affair with Bieber to “The Insider.”

Bieber’s lawyer has said he will “vigorously pursue all available legal remedies to defend and protect Justin against these allegations.” But what exactly does that entail? Beyond disproving his paternity in the case, what other legal options are available to Bieber should he decide to pursue them in hopes of warning others that making allegations like these, if they are false, is not a smart move?

According to family law attorney Vikki Ziegler, whose new book ” The Premarital Planner: Your Complete Legal Guide to a Perfect Marriage” hits stores in January, if Yeater’s accusation that the “Mistletoe” singer fathered her child is proven false, there could be potential legal repercussions for Yeater should Bieber chose to pursue them.

“Celebrities, believe it or not, have legal recourse if someone makes false allegations or defames them in the public by spoken or written word,” Ziegler tells MTV News. “Defamation, perjury and paternity fraud … Beiber’s legal team may have many options if the paternity test comes back negative alleviating Beiber from any legal responsibility to Yeaters small child.”

The least common route would be to pursue a claim of paternity fraud, which according to Ziegler, “Refers to a paternal discrepancy in which a birth mother names a man to be the biological father of a child, particularly for self-interest, when she knows or suspects that he is not the biological father. They are normally not prosecuted but do exist on the books as law in many states.”

More common, however, are claims of defamation and perjury.

While perjury is most often referred to in the context of a trial, it is more broadly defined as willfully giving incomplete, misleading or false testimony while under oath. While there is not expected to be a trial in Bieber’s case, Ziegler acknowledges that perjury can extend to statements made in an official capacity, including lawsuits. “Some legal documents are signed ‘by swearing to the veracity/truthfulness of the statements under oath,’ which means that if someone lies about anything as acknowledged under oath, they could face perjury charges,” she says. “Here, Yeater signed a complaint for paternity under oath possibly alleging knowingly false information. That may be a charge that the prosecutors feel is worthy of pursuit.”

Ziegler says that while perjury charges are rarely prosecuted, if they are and the individual is convicted, they can face a hefty fine and jail time. “In California, the punishment ranges from fines and probation and no jail time for a first-time offender to up to four years in state prison,” she adds.

If testing determines he is not the father, Bieber’s main recourse may be to pursue charges of defamation against Yeater. Defamation is any communication or making of a false statements, issued to a third party, about another person that causes harm determined to be libel or slander. Defamation claims must also demonstrate that actual damage has been inflicted as a result of the claim.

“Yeater and her counsel have filed a complaint for paternity, blabbed to all media outlets that Beiber is the father. Check,” says Ziegler. Of course, any defamation suit hinges on the allegations at hand being proven false. If Bieber is the father, Ziegler says, “There will be no sustainable defamation suit ever filed.”

“The second component of defamation of character, according to most courts and jurisdictions, is the idea of malice on the part of the alleged defamer,” Ziegler tells MTV News. “For public figures, and this would include anyone considered a celebrity, they must also prove that the statement was made with ‘actual malice,’ meaning that Yeater knew her statement that Beiber is the father is actually false – say, if it’s true they never met – or it was said reckless disregard to its truth to tarnish his career or reputation.”

Speaking more generally, Ziegler tells MTV that a celebrity’s reputation is very important to their branding because it is tied closely to sponsorships and endorsement deals that sometimes are valued in the millions. Oftentimes, even the appearance of impropriety on the part of a celebrity can prove detrimental in this regard, which is why an accusation, even if later disproven, can carry so much long-term weight.

“Beiber’s reputation is potentially being negatively affected by Yeater’s comments based on his celebrity status, his age, the fact that he has a girlfriend and is perceived as a wholesale young man,” she says. “Beiber could lose millions while the paternity suit unfolds based on his reputation as a role model for his fans and sponsors.”

Any talk of further court action is, of course, hypothetical. If it is proven that Bieber is not the father, he could also chose to walk away without pursuing any action against Yeater. By all accounts, public sentiment most certainly seems to be on the side of the pop star, and with the No. 1 debut of his Christmas album, his reputation does not appear to have yet been impacted by the allegations.
What are your thoughts on Justin Bieber’s paternity case? Let us know in the comments.

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Why Justin Bieber May Have Thought Twice About Being a Snake Owner

Posted by MTV News On November - 10 - 2011

Justin Bieber announced that he is giving up his pet boa constrictor Johnson to charity, perhaps because he’s too busy working on world domination.

A disclaimer on the auction site warns: “Keeping a pet snake is a long-term responsibility. Before making any decision about keeping one, please ensure you have the money, space, knowledge, time, resources and enthusiasm required to properly care for the species you intend to keep, for the duration of its life.”

That warning isn’t wrong and hints at why a star as busy as Bieber had to part ways with the boa. Pet-Snakes.com says that it takes a certain kind of person to handle a snake. Responsibilities include:

Overall health of the snake. It’s something you should pay attention to each and every day.

Feeding. Knowing what to feed, when to feed, and how to feed.

Environment. Keeping the snakes home at the right temperature and right humidity can be a lot of work.

Handling. Your snake should be handled on a daily basis in most instances. You shouldn’t handle it for 24-48 hours after eating and at least 5-7 days after you bring it home.

Cleanliness. Because snakes don’t relieve themselves on a daily basis it can be easy to forget about cleaning their tanks, but you have to keep up with it.

The site also says that Justin Bieber would have to spend time being an ambassador:

“You’ll need to represent snakes to the general public and more likely your immediate family in a common sense, knowledgeable, and confident manner.

Educating the public about snakes is one of your greatest responsibilities as an owner. Being able to convey what amazing animals they are and to explain why you keep them as pets is paramount to being an ambassador. Of course some people are afraid of snakes and you’ll have to learn how to deal with these kinds of people on a case by case basis.”

That may be too much to ask of Bieber, who is currently supporting his Christmas album Under the Mistletoe, which just debuted at #1 on the Billboard albums chart. A portion of the album’s sales will go to charity.

Pet-Snakes.com does list out an area that Bieber wouldn’t have had any trouble with: keeping up with the $$$ needed to raise a snake properly. Skyrocketing heating bills, arrangements with a snake sitter and expensive vet visits can take a burden on the wallet. Not a problem to Bieber who is estimated to be worth over $80 million.

Justin talked with girlfriend Selena Gomez about Johnson at the VMAs in August.

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Justin Bieber Shows Chris Brown How To Not Lose Your Cool When Confronted With A Tough Question

Posted by James Montgomery On November - 4 - 2011

Justin Bieber

Circumstances, by their very nature, are rarely the same twice. I realize that. Yet, this morning, after watching Justin Bieber deftly and appropriately address the recent paternity suit filed against him, live on the “Today” show, with hundreds of fans surrounding him and millions more watching at home, I couldn’t help but think about Chris Brown. And how, hopefully, he was taking notes.

You probably remember earlier this year, when Brown stopped by another morning show — in this case, ABC’s “Good Morning America” — to promote his just-released F.A.M.E. album, and got (depending on your opinion of him) understandably or irrationally angered by host Robin Roberts’ repeated questions about his 2009 assault of then-girlfriend Rihanna. And you probably remember everything that happened after that appearance, especially the parts where Brown allegedly broke a window in a dressing room and exited the “GMA” studios shirtless (and then played a pickup basketball game on West 4th Street). Needless to say, it wasn’t a good look for Brown, a guy who has sort of turned the phrase into an art form.

And, again, I understand that the circumstances surrounding the two events are different. Bieber has, up until this point in his career, largely avoided the sordid side of celebrity. At the time of his “GMA” appearance, Brown had spent a full two years apologizing for his assault, and probably felt blindsided by Roberts’ line of questioning. Of course, the magnitude of their infractions — purported or otherwise — aren’t exactly equal. I don’t know their backgrounds, how they were raised, and I can’t pretend to understand what was going on minutes before the cameras started rolling, what was agreed to by publicists and producers in the weeks leading up to each artist’s appearances. But I do know how I feel after watching Bieber, and how I felt after watching Brown, and just how different those two feelings really are.

To his credit, Bieber did not shrink from the questions; he stepped up and answered them, dealt with the issue at hand, then got back to promoting his various endeavors. To his detriment, Brown did the exact opposite – he let his emotions get the best of him and the whole thing spun out of control. You can argue he’s been doing damage control ever since. There are, of course, no shortage of rather sticky sentiments attached to all of this, questions of public perception and media fairness. Then again, on “Today,” Matt Lauer wasn’t exactly tossing softballs to Bieber, while Roberts, well, let’s just say she was basically serving as Brown’s personal Jennie Finch. And while one handled it appropriately, the other faltered. Those points are not up for debate.

Chris Brown

And, in the process, they made me consider whether a 17-year-old kid facing his first bit of adversity may actually be more mature than a 22-year-old man who’s (in theory) been facing adversity for years now. Or at least has had better media training. And in the era where we think we know everything about every celebrity — even if what we think we know is nothing more than what the machines surrounding them deem it worthy to release — that’s what’s important. I don’t know if Bieber smashed anything or stormed into Rockefeller Center shirtless (though, if he did, I’m reasonably sure I would’ve read about it by now). I’m not saying Bieber is good and Brown is bad, and I’m not attempting to compare their situations in any way. I’m simply pointing out that Bieber showed a maturity and professionalism beyond his years, while Brown, well, he’s still trying to figure this whole thing out. Which is why, I really hope he was paying attention this morning … turns out, he could learn a lot from the kid.

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Justin Bieber Goes Steampunk For New Holiday Video

Posted by Jocelyn Vena On November - 4 - 2011

<i>Justin Bieber, Twitter</i>

Justin Bieber, Twitter

In between addressing salacious headlines about his personal life, Justin Bieber has work to do. And that includes updating fans on the progress of his many in-the-works music videos.

This week he shot clips with Mariah Carey for “All I Want For Christmas” as well as Boyz II Men for “Fa La La” and on November 23 his video for “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” will hit the streets. It’ll play as a preamble to the animated holiday flick “Arthur Christmas: The Movie” (about the youngest son of Papa Christmas himself).

While we’re not completely sure what the “Santa Claus” music video will end up looking like, it does seem to take place in a bit of a steampunk-inspired Santa’s workshop, complete with old-timey clothes (with futuristic detailing, OBVS), elves and Bieber’s new spiky hair. It also seems to include a lady mannequin-type figure also wearing garb associated with anything and everything steampunk.

We have no idea what any of this means, but we’re a bit intrigued. It’s not often we see Bieber embracing something best defined “as a subgenre of science fiction and fantasy featuring advanced machines and other technology based on steam power of the 19th century and taking place in a recognizable historical period or a fantasy world.”

Sure, why not?

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