Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Mars in court over cocaine charge

Bruno Mars has appeared in court in Las Vegas

Pop star Bruno Mars has told a Las Vegas judge that he will plead guilty in state court on February 14 to a felony cocaine charge that would be wiped from his record if he stays out of trouble for a year.

Mars, whose real name is Peter Hernandez, and a trio of defence lawyers, agreed not to contest police accounts that he possessed 2.6 grams of cocaine when he was arrested on September 19 after a Las Vegas nightclub performance.

Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Joseph Sciscento set the date for his plea - the day after the 53rd Grammy Awards show in Los Angeles.

The 25-year-old singer-songwriter is nominated for seven Grammy awards including best male pop vocal.

Defence lawyer Blair Berk said her client appreciated the chance he was receiving as a first offender.

"We're extremely pleased the charge against Bruno is going to be dismissed," she said.

The plea deal worked out last week calls for Mars to spend a year on probation, pay a 2,000 dollar fine, perform 200 hours of community service and complete drug counselling.

He spent a night in the Clark County jail in Las Vegas following his arrest in a casino toilet after a nightclub performance at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The hotel-casino is separate from the restaurant chain with the same name.

Police said Mars handed over a bag containing 2.6 grams of cocaine, and told the arresting officer he had never used drugs before.

Mars was a child entertainer in Hawaii before moving to Los Angeles in 2002 to pursue his entertainment career.

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