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Justin Bieber charged with assault in limo driver case

 

Justin Bieber was charged in Toronto on Wednesday with assaulting a limo driver, one week after he was busted on charges of driving under the influence and resisting arrest following an alleged drag race in Miami.

Meanwhile, a White House petition calling for U.S. authorities to deport the Canada native passed 100,000 signatures – the necessary threshold to ensure a response from the government.

Arriving at a Toronto police station, Bieber emerged from a black SUV wearing a winter coat and a backwards ball cap before being led through a throng of police and reporters. 

He was charged with one count of assault and is scheduled to appear in court in Toronto on March 10.

Police allege Bieber was one of six people who were picked up by a limousine from a nightclub in the early morning hours of Dec. 30, and there was an altercation while en route to a hotel.

Police said during the altercation one of the passengers hit the limo driver in the back of the head several times.

"The driver stopped the limousine, exited the vehicle and called police," a statement said. "The man who struck him left the scene before police arrived."

Howard Weitzman, Bieber's California-based attorney, said in a statement earlier Wednesday that the pop star was innocent.

Earlier Wednesday, he pleaded not guilty in Florida to charges of driving under the influence after driving nearly twice the speed limit on a Miami Beach street. He also pleaded not guilty to resisting arrest and driving with an expired license.

The pop star lately has drawn more attention for his brushes with the law than for his music. His arrival at the Toronto police station was no different — the singer debuted a music video for his song "Confident" on Wednesday afternoon, just as news of his expected arrest was breaking.

As for the petition, which was launched less than a week ago, nearly 140,000 people as of early Wednesday evening had joined in the call to “remove Justin Bieber from our society.”

“We would like to see the dangerous, reckless, destructive, and drug abusing Justin Bieber deported and his green card revoked,” the petition says. “He is not only threatening the safety of our people but he is also a terrible influence on our nation’s youth.”

The petition carries no legal weight and likely won't result in any significant action by the U.S. government, but it comes on the heels of other troubling behavior involving the "Confident" singer.

Bieber was arrested last Thursday just after 4 a.m. on Pine Tree Drive and 26th Street in Miami. According to police, he was driving a yellow Lamborghini while under the influence of marijuana, prescription pills and alcohol.

The teen sensation was released on $2,500 bond. The star's mug shot was released, showing him smiling for camera.

The week before, a dozen detectives raided the pop star's California home, searching for evidence that would link him to an egging incident, which caused approximately $20,000 in damages to a neighbor's home.

During the search, one of the singer's friends, Xavier Smith, also known as Lil Za, was arrested for narcotics possession.

Last year, Bieber made headlines for everything from clashing with a paparazzo to fainting at a show to being photographed smoking marijuana. The paparazzo is suing Bieber for assault and battery.

German authorities charged him thousands of dollars after he abandoned a pet monkey that they seized from him for failing to have proper vaccination papers.

The singer also had to apologize to Bill Clinton after cursing the former president and spraying his photo with cleaning fluid in a New York City restaurant kitchen.

Bieber was discovered through a YouTube video of him performing, and his career has been guided by a pair of music industry heavyweights, singer Usher and manager Scooter Braun. He has been nominated for two Grammy Awards for his 2010 full-length album debut "My World 2.0," but his popularity has waned.

Braun tweeted Wednesday evening, "i ask people to be kind and hope for the best in people. not assume the worst. Thanks."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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