[artist id="1230523"]Kanye West[/artist] got some very good news on Friday. Though he was not present for the ruling, West caught a break when a Los Angeles court commissioner dismissed all three misdemeanor charges against the rapper in connection with a scuffle with paparazzi
at the Los Angeles International Airport in September 2008.
Court commissioner Mark Zuckman dismissed misdemeanor charges of battery, grand theft and vandalism against West and tour manager Don Crowley. West was arrested on suspicion of vandalism and Crowley on suspicion of vandalism and battery on September 12, 2008, when they allegedly confronted TMZ photographers and smashed their equipment; West and Crowley, 33, pleaded not guilty to the charges, which could have sent West to jail for up to two years and six months and Crowley for up to five years.
City prosecutors opposed the dismissal, arguing that both West, 32, and Crowley had exhibited "felonious intent" in allegedly breaking the expensive camera gear. As part of the dismissal, West and Crowley were ordered to complete 50 hours of community service — West's attorney said he will work perform his service with the American Red Cross.
People magazine reported that the hearing also revealed that West — who has a history of indignant public outbursts at awards shows — voluntarily received court-approved anger management counseling following the airport scuffle, completing 12 one-hour sessions, which attorney Blair Berk did not disclose until Friday's court session. Berk also noted that an undisclosed civil settlement had been reached with the photographers last month, with the photogs providing a note to the court that they were satisfied with the payments.
"Kanye took the charges very seriously [and] responded appropriately by getting counseling to figure out why this happened," Berk told MTV News on Friday after the dismissal. "And the court appropriately agreed to dismiss all charges ... this was the outcome that was appropriate given the facts of this case." Berk noted that because of the dismissal, the incident will not show up on West's permanent record.
According to TMZ, Berk delivered a "blistering attack" on the paparazzi before leaving court. Saying her clients were "remorseful" for the incident, Berk reportedly said they had been "overcharged" in the case, a suggestion Deputy L.A. City Attorney Felton Newell disputed by saying they had acted with "reckless disregard" and that a video of the incident shows they had "an intent to commit a felony." The L.A. district attorney's office had considered filing felony charges against the men, but ultimately declined.