Singer Bruno Mars to plead guilty on Las Vegas drug charge
By Francis McCabe
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
Posted: Jan. 28, 2011 | 11:56 a.m.
Pop singer and songwriter Bruno Mars will plead guilty to felony cocaine possession following his September arrest at the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel.
Clark County District Attorney David Roger said Mars, whose real name is Peter Hernandez, will be sentenced to a year of informal probation and will have to pay a $2,000 fine, perform 200 hours of community service, attend drug counseling and stay out of trouble.
If the 25-year-old successfully completes those terms he will be allowed to withdraw his plea and the case will be dismissed, a common occurrence in minor first-time drug possession cases.
If Mars fails he will be adjudicated guilty and could face prison time.
But first, Mars will have unconditionally waive a preliminary hearing scheduled for Feb. 4 in Las Vegas Justice Court.
A hearing will then be scheduled for district court where Mars will plead guilty to possession of a controlled substance, cocaine. The date for that hearing and which district judge will hear the case will be determined after Mars waives the preliminary hearing.
Mars' was represented by Las Vegas celebrity criminal defense attorney David Chesnoff and Los Angeles defense attorney Blair Berk.
Berk declined comment.
Mars was arrested at 2:40 a.m. on Sept. 19 at the Hard Rock after security confronted him in a restroom and discovered him with cocaine.
According to a Las Vegas police arrest report, Mars, who was wearing a striped red shirt and jeans, was seen with a baggy of white powder in a restroom stall by an attendant who told hotel security.
When confronted by hotel security Mars handed over the baggy.
Mars later asked a police officer, " 'Can I speak to you honestly, sir?' Hernandez (Mars) admitted he did a foolish thing and has never used drugs before," according to the arrest report.
Mars' musical career has soared in popularity for singing and co-writing pop hits "Nothin' On You" by B.o.B, and "Billionaire" by Travie McCoy.
He recently scored a Billboard No.1 hit with his song 'Just the way you are.'
Chesnoff's other clients include celebrity socialite Paris Hilton and hard rock singer Vince Neil.
In Hilton's case, she was sentenced in September to a year of probation after pleading guilty to two misdemeanors for drug possession. Hilton had been arrested in August after a small baggy containing less than a gram of cocaine fell out of her handbag in front of a police lieutenant.
If Hilton fails her probation she would face a year in the county jail.