Britney Spears Traffic Case Dismissed
Prosecutors decline to retry the singer after a trial resulted in a hung jury
A mistrial was declared Tuesday in Britney Spears‘s misdemeanor trial for driving without a license. The jury was deadlocked 10-2 in favor of the singer’s innocence, the foreman said in open court.
“The jury is hopelessly deadlocked, and I declare this a mistrial,” stated Judge James A. Steele, who later dismissed the case.
Spears, 26, had been accused of driving without a California license, stemming from an August 2007 fender-bender.
The singer’s father, Jamie Spears, testified his daughter had a Louisiana license on the day in question, and that she considers Louisiana her permanent residence and plans to return.
“Today’s outcome shows my client did nothing wrong. I consider this a victory,” said Britney’s attorney, Michael Flanagan. “Britney was vindicated in that she took on a system that attempted to make an example of her celebrity.”
At a hearing later on Tuesday, Judge Steele dismissed the case, after prosecutor Michael Amerian stated his desire not to retry Spears. “I don’t think it’s appropriate to ask for [retrial],” Amerian said in open court.
Flanagan said he spoke with the singer’s father, who was “ecstatic” the case was dropped.
Celebrity Proved an Asset
Jury foreman Gary Moy, 45, a communications analyst (and one of two jurors who voted guilty), said at a press conference after the decision was announced: “We felt deadlocked from the beginning, there were lots of questions about lack of evidence, whether Spears had a Louisiana license or not, what the definition of residency was. We felt we were never given all the facts in the case.”
He added, “Some jurors felt their time was wasted.”
Moy also noted that he believed Spears’s celebrity worked in her favor, saying that people have a “natural propensity to identify with celebrities, and I feel some of the jurors inserted their personal feelings” into their decision-making.
“We put our best foot forward,” said Amerian about trying the case – and adding that he was troubled by the jury foreman’s comments about her fame working in Spears’s favor. “It just goes to show you how difficult it is to convict a celebrity in Los Angeles.”