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Bruno Mars taking plea deal in Vegas cocaine case

By KEN RITTER,Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 04:35 p.m. HST, Jan 28, 2011


LAS VEGAS — Pop singer Bruno Mars is taking a plea deal in Las Vegas to be allowed to pay a fine, serve probation and have a felony cocaine possession charge against him dismissed, authorities said.

The 25-year-old Grammy nominee is due before a Las Vegas judge Feb. 4 to waive an evidentiary hearing so he can plead guilty and be sentenced in state court, his attorneys and Clark County District Attorney David Roger said.

Mars' real name is Peter Hernandez. Defense lawyers David Chesnoff and Blair Berk said that if he pays a $2,000 fine, performs 200 hours of community service, completes drug counseling and stays out of trouble for a year, no conviction will remain on his record.

"Bruno is very appreciative he is being given this opportunity as a first offender not to suffer any conviction and instead to have his charge dismissed," Berk told The Associated Press. "He is taking all of this quite seriously."

The plea agreement will let Mars step past the Las Vegas cocaine charge a week before the 53rd Grammy Awards show in Los Angeles.

Mars is nominated for seven awards, including best male pop vocal for his hit, "Just the Way You Are." He also co-wrote "(Expletive) You" and was featured on B.o.B's "Nothin' on You" — a nominee for record of the year.

He spent a night in the Clark County jail in Las Vegas after his arrest in September following a performance at a Las Vegas nightclub.

An arrest report said a Hard Rock Hotel & Casino bathroom attendant noticed a man taking a long time in a stall with a bag of a white, powdered substance just before 2 a.m., and summoned security. 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'd 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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