This is the second time I’ve blogged about Lief Garrett, er, I mean Justin Bieber. Hopefully it will be the last time, but this is a legal blog and he’s a legal mess.
You’ve probably seen/heard his released deposition in a case where he is being sued for allegedly getting his bodyguards to beat up a paparazzi. There are so many examples of what Bieber did wrong:
- He primps for the camera and winks at it as if he’s on a show.
- He argues with the lawyer for the plaintiff repeatedly, most notably about his relationship with an ex-girlfriend, but also about trivial things.
- He lies at first about his relationship with the singer Usher which leads him to hilariously state that "I think that I was detrimental to my own career."
- He tries to play lawyer by making objections to questions.
This was all very dumb on this part as there is a chance this video will be played for a jury and it will make him look like an ass. It also gives the plaintiff’s lawyer great joy in knowing that if the case does go to trial that he can get under Bieber’s skin very easily and make him look bad. If the jury thinks that he’s a spoiled, entitled brat, they are way more likely to hammer him than they would if they actually liked him.
But by far the worst thing that he did was to argue with the court reporter who asked him to speak up. The court reporter is on nobodies side. She’s there to make sure everything you say is transcribed correctly. It’s common for them to ask you to slow down, repeat what you said or speak up. Bieber’s response was to swear and yell at her. Not classy at all, very rude and it’s likely to piss off the Judge.
I’m guessing that he has a wonderful lawyer that prepped him very well for this, but he just didn’t listen. But when he was asked if he knows Selena Gomez, instead of arguing, he should have just kept it simple and said yes. That would make him look like a normal human being. When asked if they discussed paparazzi together, instead of flying off the handle, he simply could have said “I don’t recall.”
Short and sweet answers are the way to go if you are being deposed. Arguing or giving speeches just provides information that can hurt you. The deposition just about the information it can reveal about the case, it’s also about providing a preview of the trial. If you are going to be a great witness for your side – credible and likeable are the key things to look for – then it causes your opponent to be less willing to shoot for the moon when it comes to a settlement. In this case, Bieber probably cost himself somewhere in the mid six figures with his behavior if not more. He can probably afford that, but giving away money like this is how young rich stars go bankrupt. Doing it once is no big deal. Doing it repeatedly is a problem and it makes you a target for other lawsuits.
When I was 20 I certainly couldn’t have handled the money and fame he has, at least not in an appropriate way. That’s no excuse of course for him. He should realize that his behavior is making some paparazzo look sympathetic.
Hopefully you don’t get sued any time soon, especially not for arranging to have your bodyguards beat up a photographer. But if you do end up in a deposition, be honest, don’t give long answers and let your attorney do their job. If you do, there’s a great chance that you won’t be mocked if your deposition is released for the world to see.
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