Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 28 February 2015

Mars in court over cocaine charge

Bruno Mars has appeared in court in Las Vegas
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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