By Allison Martell and Jeffrey Hodgson
TORONTO (Reuters) – Canadian pop star Justin Bieber appeared at a Toronto police station on Wednesday to turn himself in on assault charges stemming from a December incident in the city involving a limousine driver.
Bieber arrived in a black SUV and was met by a crowd of journalists as well as screaming fans braving frigid temperatures.
Wearing a baseball cap on backwards and hooded black coat, Bieber was mobbed by photographers and fans pushing for a closer look as bodyguards and police officers cleared a path for him to enter the station.
Earlier, Toronto police said on their Twitter feed that they could not confirm information in the media about Bieber. Staff Sergeant Deb Abbott at the station told Reuters that if someone notable were charged, police would issue a press statement and there would be no press conference.
Duty Desk, 52 Division and Toronto Police Corp Comm cannot confirm any media reports about Justin Bieber, so please don't bother calling ^sm
— Toronto Police (@TorontoPolice) January 30, 2014
Bieber’s California-based attorney Howard Weitzman declined to comment on the allegations his client faces or any potential defense, saying it was now a matter for the court to handle.
The attorney says in a statement that Bieber’s legal team expects the case to be treated as a summary offense, which is the equivalent of a misdemeanor in the United States.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corp reported that Bieber was charged in relation to an incident that happened in December after he attended a Toronto Maple Leafs game.
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Bieber, 19, has been in trouble with authorities in the United States this month. He was charged with driving under the influence in Miami after police caught him drag racing a rented Lamborghini. He told police he had taken prescription medicine, had been smoking marijuana and had consumed alcohol.
According to court records, he pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to those charges in a written plea submitted by his lawyer. If convicted, Bieber could face up to six months in prison, although experts say he is likely to receive a lighter sentence because it would be his first offense.
Bieber is scheduled to make a court appearance on Feb. 14 to formally answer the charges. He was also charged with driving on an expired license and resisting arrest without violence.
Bieber, a native of Ontario, Canada, first shot to fame as a child when his mother posted YouTube videos of him singing. He became a musical and social media sensation with a devoted following of young, mainly female fans.
The “Boyfriend” singer’s life off-stage has been rocky in the last year with problems ranging from scuffling with paparazzi in London to a felony investigation into whether he pelted a neighbor’s house with eggs in his gated community near Los Angeles.
Also On Wednesday, a online petition asking the Obama administration to deport Bieber after his Miami arrest from the United States, passed the 100,000 signature threshold required for a White House response.
Bieber was unlikely to be deported because federal law dictates that a visa can only be revoked or denied for a conviction of a violent crime with a minimum one year prison sentence.
(With additional reporting by Natalie Armstrong in Toronto and Piya Sinha-Roy in Los Angeles and Zachary Fagenson in Miami; Editing by Grant McCool)