Are celebs above the law? Does a privilege exist for them which means they “get away” with conduct that regular, everyday citizens would never? Maybe yes. Maybe no. But if yes, why do they get this special treatment? Is it because they can sing? They can act? No. I believe it has nothing to do with their talent (or their looks!) but rather it is what privilege and celebrity can buy. And that, my friends, is a good lawyer. A good lawyer is creative, can hire experts to poke holes in a case and fully investigate witnesses in order to question their credibility. A good lawyer can raise enough doubt that a jury won’t convict or find for the plaintiff. And a good lawyer is nothing if not expensive. How expensive? Well, lawyer to the stars, Mark Geragos did not amass a net worth of more than 25 million by charging a hundred bucks an hour. Though I don’t know his hourly rate or if he charges by case (it’s likely he does both), I would venture to say his rate is well over $1000 per hour. But, that’s just a drop in the bucket for those on Geragos’ client list which includes Chris Brown, Usher and Nicole Ritchie.
The counter argument to preferential treatment is that scrutiny is at its most intense in high profile cases so those in the system are especially careful. New York based attorney to the stars, Ben Brafman, who has represented P. Diddy and many others, has been known to say that authorities like to use high-profile cases to send a message about obeying the law and thus the system is more stringent with celebrities. I agree with him. The truth is no one in the justice system wants to face public outcry or press hostility for any matter and certainly not one involving a celebrity. In today’s world when celebs instagram from crime scenes or tweet on their way to court and everything seems to be captured on film, prosecutors, lawyers, and judges need to be very careful with every decision they make, witness they call or ruling they issue.
In the end I agree with famed legal scholar and lawyer, Alan Dershowitz, a member of OJ Simpson’s Dream Team, who said, “It is true that the legal system treats celebrities differently from average folks…it could be worse treatment, or it could be better treatment. The coin flips two ways.”