Criminal charges have been filed against a paparazzo who was caught trailing singer Justin Bieber in a high-speed chase in Los Angeles July 6.
Paul Raef, 30, was charged with following another vehicle too closely and reckless driving with the intent to capture pictures for commercial gain, one count of reckless driving and one count of failing to obey the lawful order of a peace officer, according to a news release from the Los Angeles City Attorney.
Raef’s charges stem from a high-speed chase on Los Angeles’ 101 Freeway July 6. The “Boyfriend” singer, driving his chrome Fisker Karma, told police he was being chased by a pack of paparazzi. Raef, in a Toyota Rav 4, was one of six paparazzi spotted by police driving more than 80 mph across all lanes and, at times, going onto the shoulder to pass other cars. Raef “forced his way into lanes of traffic, despite having no room to merge safely,” causing drivers around him to slam on their brakes, according to the Los Angeles City Attorney.
Police tried to pull over each of the paparazzi, as well as Bieber, but only Bieber responded. He was cited with speeding and released but is scheduled to appear in court in September.
Thirty minutes later, Bieber notified police he was being chased again by Raef. Police found Raef, with other paparazzi, in a parking garage in downtown Los Angeles, where they identified him as the driver.
If convicted, Raef faces up to one year in the county jail and fines up to $3,500. He is scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 9.