They say that life is always greener on the other side. That is a big reason why so many of us idolize the celebrity lifestyle so much. However, let us not forget that at the end of the day, celebrities are still just people just like us and when we wipe away the glitz and glam of Hollywood life, these celebrities’ lives are not that different from ours. They still suffer the same plights and can get in the same amount of trouble. They just can afford an entire team of criminal lawyers, whereas not all of us can afford the same privilege. However, the truth is, some celebrities can use their status, privilege, and power to skirt across awful offences that would condemn the best of us to a life in the slammer. Here are 7 celebs who narrowly avoided having tohire a criminal lawyer, and another 8 who had no choice but to do just that.
15. Needed A Lawyer: O.J. Simpson
There was a time when O.J. Simpson was the most beloved athlete anybody could stumble upon on television. This football star was in movies, commercials, events — you name it. The guy was on a roll. Then, in 1994, Simpson was charged with murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson. This is a damning offence for anyone — celebrity or not — to be charged with. Naturally, Simpson counted on the best lawyer money could buy: Johnnie Cochran. By twisting this from a case about murdering into a case about racism, Cochran proved that “if the glove don’t fit, you must acquit,” and Simpson was acquitted of all charges.
14. Almost Needed One: Halle Berry
Halle Berry has proven to have quite the prolific career over the past couple of decades. She quickly used the success that came with X-Men to catapult herself into the Oscar-winning lead role of Monster’s Ball, and hasn’t looked back since. Things were almost a completely different story in 2000, right before the release of the X-Men film that made her a household name, when she was charged with fleeing the scene of a car accident. She caused a car collision in West Hollywood and instead of hashing things out with the other driver, she fled the scene. Instead of being convicted of prison time, she was given three years probation, a $13,5000 fine, and 200 hours of community service.
13. Needed A Lawyer: R. Kelly
In February 2002, an anonymous source released a shocking video to the Chicago Sun-Times documenting R. Kelly doing the deed and urinating on an underage girl. Despite his denial, he was indicted on 21 counts of illegal pornography later that year. Later on, the police searched his home and found 12 inappropriate images, too. With allegations like this, Kelly called on the best team of criminal defence lawyers he could find: Sam Adam, Sam Adam Jr., and Edward Genson. Under their leadership, Kelly was found not guilty of charges.
12. Almost Needed One: Sid Vicious
Years after Yoko Ono swooned John Lennon and long before Courtney Love found her way into Kurt Cobain’s heart, Nancy Spungen was the most hated girlfriend in the rock genre. She and Sid Vicious from S*x Pistols were two peas in a substance-scented pod until Nancy was found dead under a bathroom sink following a domestic altercation with Sid. He was quickly charged for murder. While this is a crime that does warrant a lawyer, Sid didn’t need to pay for one since Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones was kind enough to hire one for him. It proved to be for naught sinceSid overdosed before the trial.
11. Needed A Lawyer: Brandy Norwood
Off the heels of the success of her tv show Moesha, Brandy Norwood had a successful acting and singing career in the ’90s. The 2000s, however, saw Brandy go through a rough patch in her life, particularly in 2006 when she found herself in a fatal car collision in LA that claimed the life of the Toyota driver who Brandy hit. Thanks to the crafty moves of her lawyer Blair Berk, Brandy was not charged or arrested for vehicular manslaughter due to insufficient evidence in the case.
10. Almost Needed One: Mick Jagger
We mentioned earlier in this list how Mick Jagger did Sid Vicious a solid by paying for his lawyer, but there was once a time when Jagger nearly needed a lawyer for himself as well. As we all know, the rock-star life can be pretty chaotic and Jagger’s life was no different. In 1972, after attacking a photographer, Jagger and some of his buddies (including Keith Richards) were arrested and charged with assault and obstruction of justice. Lucky for Jagger and Co., the charges were dropped shortly after their arrest and there was no need for a trial upon their release, and no need for Jagger to dish out any money for a lawyer.
9. Needed A Lawyer: Charlie Sheen
Charlie Sheen has become rather infamous for his blood-induced fits of rage. This sort of reputation began on Christmas 2009 when he was arrested for assaulting his then-wife Brooke Mueller. He was charged with felony menacing, criminal mischief, and third degree mischief. Any other poor sap found on your local street corner would get the book thrown at them and several years in the pin. Not Charlie Sheen. Thanks, in large part, to his lawyer, Yale Galanter, who managed to get her client a plea deal where upon pleading guilty, he only got 30 days in rehab, an additional 30 days of probation, and 36 hours of anger management.
8. Almost Needed One: Billy Idol
In 1990, rock legend Billy Idol was in a fatal crash when his Harley Davidson motorcycle collided with a car. Luckily, the 31-year old woman in the other car was not hurt. Idol, on the other hand, severely damaged his foot to the point that it almost seemed like he would need to have the foot removed. He still feels the pain to this day, having to receive surgery in 2010 due to foot complications. On the day of the accident, not only did Idol neglect to wear a helmet, but he allegedly ran a stop sign. It was reported that police planned to file a complaint against Idol, but it seems as though no legal action was taken. Perhaps they felt bad for him due to the rotten state the accident left him in and decided against it.
7. Needed A Lawyer: Don King
As a boxing promoter, Don King has been accused of cheating dozens of boxers (like Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson) out of millions of dollars. In the 1960s, a far more damning accusation was attached to his name: murder. King was charged with second-degree murder after stomping out an employee who owed him $600. Prior to this, he was charged with murder in self-defense after someone tried to break into his gambling operation. For the second incident, he called on the representation of Charles E. Lomax. As a lawyer, Lennox worked a miracle in preventing King from having to spend more than 4 years in prison.
6. Almost Needed One: Paris Hilton
Who needs a lawyer when you’ve got money? Money certainly came in handy for Paris Hilton when she backed her Range Rover into a Honda Civic and fled the scene of the accident. According to California law, doing something like this is punishable with both a $1,000 fine and the bare minimum of six months in jail. Hilton hardly received as much as a slap on the wrist. She paid no fine and was able to skip jail completely.
5. Needed A Lawyer: Tim Allen
In the ’90s, Tim Allen was television’s favorite family man on Home Improvement, but a couple decades earlier, he led a life of crime that would leave much of his family-oriented audience in shock. In 1978, police nabbed him at a Kalamazoo, Michigan airport with 650 grams of substance. His lawyers arraigned for him to plead guilty and spend only 2 years in prison if he gave up the names of other dealers. He did, and avoided a possible life imprisonment.
4. Almost Needed One: Taryn Manning
In 2012, the future star of Orange is the New Black Taryn Manning was arrested for assaulting her personal assistant and makeup artist, Holly Hartman. Hartman decided not to prosecute Manning and Manning only had to take a plea bargin of one day’s worth of community service. She and Hartman got into another altercation in 2016 when Manning was accused of violently attacking Hartman. Manning declared the accusation absurd and frankly false. She then alleged that Hartman was stalking her. To avoid all the legal mess, Hartman put Manning on a restraining order.
3. Needed A Lawyer: Mel Gibson
The downturn of Mel Gibson’s career came in 2006 when he was caught on audio spewing antisemitic comments while being nabbed for a DUI. The DUI could have actually landed him in jail for a long time. It is doubly important when it is taken into consideration that this was Gibson’s second brush with the law for such an incident as drinking at the wheel. Thanks to a trusty team of lawyers, Gibson left without so much as a slap on the wrist. No jail time. No fine. No punishment. No nothing.
2. Almost Needed One: Johnny Depp
In May 2016, Johnny Depp stood at the center of a very publicized, very messy divorce from his now ex-wife Amber Heard. Not only were the two divorcing, but she publicly accused him of battering her in a drunken stupor. She once detailed an incident where he threw a phone at her face. She used photos of her bruises as proof, as well as a video of him in the midst of a seemingly drunken rant. Before things could get any more serious and before either party had to bring in criminal lawyers to settle this domestic abuse case, Depp and Heard decided to just agree on a settlement and part ways.
1. Needed A Lawyer: Mark Wahlberg
The former Funky Bunch helmer now thrives in Hollywood as one of the most profitable stars in the biz. But before the money, movies, music, and fame came Marky Mark’s way, Mark Wahlberg was a criminal as a youth. He was in a gang and as part of a brutal hate crime, he beat up an Asian man to the point that he thought he left the man permanently blind in one eye. Wahlberg was charged with attempted murder and pleaded guilty of assault. He was sentenced to two years in prison, but thanks to a good lawyer, he only spent 45 days in the penthouse.
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