Pop idol Justin Bieber's manager refused to post a Twitter message telling thousands of preteen fans that a Bieber appearance at Roosevelt Field mall was canceled in November, even as fans were pushing each other against the bending railings of the mall balcony and threatening to riot, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Prosecutors charged Scott "Scooter" Braun, 28, with two misdemeanors: one count of second-degree reckless endangerment and one count of second-degree criminal nuisance. The manager, who has residences in Manhattan and Atlanta, surrendered to authorities Wednesday morning, and was released in the afternoon after pleading not guilty at district court in Hempstead.
According to the criminal complaint in the case, on Nov. 20, the day of the event, Braun was patched in to a telephone call with event organizers and a police officer at about 2:55 p.m. He was asked then to send a tweet canceling the event.
But by 4 p.m., when the event was set to begin, no tweet had been sent and the crowd was even more out of control, the complaint says.
"The defendant refused to send a cancellation tweet," the complaint says. "He also admitted that in order to continue the 'pandemonium' and 'excitement,' he had changed the Twitter account password to prevent anyone at [the promotion company] from sending such a tweet," the complaint says.
Bieber, 16, a Canadian-born pop singer whose single "One Time" charted in the Top 30 in more than 10 countries, was scheduled to sign autographs outside the clothing store Justice.
At 4:23, a police officer spoke with Braun, demanding that he cancel the event via Twitter, the complaint says. Braun said he preferred that police issue a warrant, and he told them to be sure to get his name right, the complaint says.
At 4:30 and 4:33, two tweets were sent canceling the event, both sides agree. When the tweet went out, the crowd quickly dispersed, the complaint says.
One of Braun's lawyers, Joseph Conway, of Garden City, said Wednesday that the 4:23 p.m. phone call was the first time Braun had spoken to a law enforcement official about the event.
Braun did what he was told within about seven minutes, Conway said, sending a tweet on Bieber's behalf that said, "They are not allowing me to come into the mall. If you don't leave, I and my fans will be arrested as the police have just told us that."
"The only way he could have done it faster is if he'd had Superman's cape," said Braun's other lawyer, Ravi Batra of Manhattan.
After his arraignment, Braun spoke briefly to reporters.
"I look forward to honoring the law now, as I did last November," he said. He is due back in court April 7.
Braun is the second person to be arrested in connection with the event, which was coordinated by Braun, the Island Def Jam music group, Tween Brands, Simon Property Group and Allied Barton Security, officials said. Island Def Jam senior vice president James Roppo, who was in charge of the event, was charged with four misdemeanors and one felony last year.
With Sophia Chang
and John Valenti