June 17, 2008

Spears cleared in paparazzi incident

Prosecutor reviewed video, which showed the entertainer 'inching forward' through a throng of photographers. He said there was no proof she was aware of an injury.

Subtract one from the host of legal problems facing Britney Spears.

The district attorney's office announced today that it would not pursue criminal charges against the troubled performer for a November incident in which she allegedly drove her car over a photographer's foot.

A prosecutor wrote in court papers that he reviewed Internet video of Spears, 26, leaving the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills through a crush of paparazzi.

"There was much commotion and noise at the time and there is no proof that the suspect was aware of what had happened," Deputy Dist. Atty. Joseph D. Shidler wrote, noting that she "was inching forward" in a straight line through the throng of cameras. A charge of failing to perform duties after an accident would have required "a willful act" by Spears, Shidler wrote.

The prosecutor added that there was no video evidence that the man was hit, but said that if he was, it was because he placed his foot in front of the vehicle's tire.

According to the papers, Spears told police "she had no recollection of the event and that she was not aware at the time that her car had come in contact with anyone." It was one of three times last fall that Spears allegedly rolled her vehicle over the foot of a bystander while surrounded by paparazzi, but the only one authorities turned over to prosecutors.

Attorneys for Spears are due in court Tuesday for a hearing concerning her estate and finances. Her father, James Spears, has controlled her medical care and assets since February when he was named co-conservator of her estate.

The estate has paid James Spears, who left his job as a chef to care for his daughter, $2,500 a week since March. In court papers unsealed Monday, he asked for back payment for the initial month of his conservatorship before the payment arrangement was in place.

In the declaration, James Spears details day-to-day life as his famous child's caretaker in the weeks after she was hospitalized for psychiatric problems. He wrote that his schedule was packed with meetings with her doctors, lawyers, business associates and friends. He describes preparing her dinner and taxiing her to a dance studio where she taught children.

"I spent most nights at Britney's house to ensure her comfort and well-being. I spent a good deal of every day conversing with Britney," he wrote.

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