Kanye West Cleared of Charges in Airport Scuffle
Things are finally starting to look up for Kanye West. The rapper has been cleared of vandalism and battery charges stemming from an altercation with paparazzi last year in Los Angeles.
TMZ.com is reporting that the judge in the case is dismissing the three misdemeanor charges pending completion of 50 hours of community service by both West and his manager Don Crowley. The two were also required to enroll in anger management courses.
Blair Berk, West's lawyer, argued that the paparazzi were to blame for the scuffle as they instigated it by refusing to stop filming the Grammy winner, despite his requests. Berk also stated that his client is "remorseful" about the incident, noting that the battery and vandalism charges were unnecessary.
Deputy L.A. City Attorney Felton Newell countered, stating that West and Crowley acted with "reckless disregard" for wrestling the camera away from one photographer's hands and breaking it. According to Newell, the tape of West breaking the camera proves "an intent to commit a felony."
West and his manager were boarding a September 11, 2008, flight to Hawaii from LAX when the star was approached by photographers. Wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and his signature Louis Vuitton backpack, West repeatedly asked to be left alone. Ignoring his comments, photographers continued to hound the Chicago native. A squabble ensued and both West and Crowley were taken into custody, but were later set free. West eventually paid for the broken camera. He and Crowley were later charged with grand theft, battery and vandalism.
Of course this isn't the first time West's actions have made headlines. In addition to a few outbursts against the paps, he famously charged the stage at this year's MTV Video Music Awards, taking the mic from winner Taylor Swift to proclaim Beyonce's video to be the year's best. Unlike some of his previous award show stunts, this one really didn't go over too well, and West has been keeping a low profile ever since.
Earlier this week an Internet rumor claimed that Kanye had died in a car accident, but we're happy to report (per his girlfriend Amber Rose's Twitter page) that he is alive and kicking.