Entertainment behind the scenes
Did prosecutors take a wrong turn with Britney Spears?
The trial of Britney Spears for driving without a license has ended, and even though the singer failed to win a not guilty verdict, she nearly got its legal equivalent with a hung jury, the prosecutors’ decision not to seek a retrial and the judge’s dismissal of the charge.
But it didn’t come easy – or cheap — as most misdemeanor cases do. And it begs the question of why so much money was spent to try Britney for driving without a license.
Prosecutors have said the case only came to trial because Spears and her legal team refused a plea bargain – unlike the overwhelming majority of defendants in her situation. Prosecutor Michael Amerian had said the city offered Spears a year of probation and a $150 fine, or no probation and a $1,000 fine.
But if convicted Spears would have had a misdemeanor on her record, and the pop star did not want that, said her defense attorney J. Michael Flanagan.
How much money was spent to try the once-troubled singer who got popped by the cops for driving without a license?
Allan Parachini, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Superior Court, said it’s impossible to put a price tag on one day of court work. But he said the cost includes the salary for a judge, a court reporter, a bailiff and a clerk.
From jury selection through hung jury, the trial of Britney took roughly four days.
Attorney Flanagan said he racked up so much time on the case he stopped billing Spears by the hour. After the trial, he joked that his fees to Spears are “probably a world record” for a driver’s license case. He told Reuters the amount ended up being the same as what he would charge on a vehicular manslaughter case, even though no one died. He did not give an exact price.
Flanagan also claimed Amerian pursued the case for political reasons. ”The prosecutor wanted a little attention, he’s running for city attorney,” Flanagan said.
But last week Amerian said he filed his papers to run for public office in March, well after Spears was charged. “We have never at any time treated this case differently because the defendant is Britney Spears,” he said.
One thing we do know for certain — other than Spears was cleared – is that she now has a California license, her attorney said. So, she should be able to avoid a repeat this past week’s events! Still, one wonders, was it all worth it?
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis)