POSTED: 1:38 p.m. HST, Aug 27, 2013
LAST UPDATED: 2:36 p.m. HST, Aug 27, 2013
LOS ANGELES >> Former Chicago Bulls star Scottie Pippen won't face any criminal charges after a fight with an autograph seeker outside a Malibu sushi restaurant earlier this summer, prosecutors said today.
Prosecutors said there was insufficient evidence against Pippen, who was dining with his family June 24 when he was approached by Camran Shafighi inside Nobu restaurant, a celebrity hangout on the beach in Malibu. They said Shafighi had a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit for driving and exaggerated injuries that were deemed minor.
The fight occurred outside the restaurant after Shafighi asked to have his photo taken with Pippen. Authorities said Shafighi followed Pippen outside into the parking lot and asked for another photo and an autograph from Pippen, who said no.
Pippen told investigators that Shafighi was irate, "grabbing at him, cursing him and then spit in his face," according to a report by the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.
Pippen admitted he spit at Shafighi and pushed him away, but it's unclear whether Pippen was the aggressor or acting in self-defense, based on witness accounts.
Shafighi, 49, said Pippen punched him in the mouth and kicked him several times. The last memory Shafighi had before losing consciousness was seeing Pippen's foot coming toward his face, the report said.
Shafighi, who has filed a $4 million lawsuit against Pippen, was taken to a hospital with a possible concussion. All tests showed there wasn't any internal trauma, but Shafighi returned to the hospital later and told doctors he had been diagnosed with fractured ribs and ankle, the report said. The only visible physical injuries were a small bruise on Shafighi's chin and a cut to his lip.
Shafighi, whose blood sample turned up positive for opiates and a 0.18 percent blood-alcohol level, also feigned having seizures, but he was able to stop them when the doctor ordered him to stop them, according to the report.
The physician who examined Shafighi told investigators he believed Shafighi was "making up stuff to try to have a story," the report said.
"This shakedown artist was drunk, screaming racial slurs, and assaulted my client and his family," said Pippen's attorney, Mark Geragos. "Scottie and his family are grateful to the sheriff for their investigation and DA for their decision to reject these unfounded charges. Scottie and his family plan on holding this man accountable for his outrageous actions."
Steve Kaplan, a spokesman for Shafghi's attorney Lee Boyd, said they were reviewing the report and couldn't immediately comment.
Pippen, 47, won six NBA titles with Michael Jordan and the Bulls. In 1996, he was named one of the NBA's 50 greatest players. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.
Pippen now serves as special adviser to the Bulls' president and chief operating officer.