Vine superstar Curtis Lepore is a client of Wegman & Levin. There has been a lot of speculation in the blogosphere about a pending case in Los Angeles involving Curtis and fellow Viner Jessi Smiles. Some Jessi fans have expressed love and support for her and hatred for Curtis, while ardent Curtis supporters have expressed love for Curtis and anger at Jessi. Curtis’ fans have been clamoring for Curtis to respond to comments and innuendo put out by “the other camp.” But Curtis cannot do that because of his legal counsel’s insistence that he refrain. We have finally told Curtis to simply direct all questions here, in order to stop the constant barrage on social media. That is NOT to say that we intend to answer all the questions at this time, but we will respond.
In response to the various accusations and allegations made by the other camp, our only statement at this time is: things are not always as they appear and there are two sides to every story. As long as charges are pending against Curtis, it is counterproductive to the entire process to comment on the truth or falsity of the allegations. It serves absolutely no useful purpose to Curtis’ defense to either admit nor to deny any specific fact(s). The legal system is slow but needs to wind its way through without the constant additional distraction of hate rants, threats, “inside” gossip and the like. To date, Curtis has received both threats and accolades, sympathy and derision– all from people who know only a fraction of the story. This sentiment can become dangerous when somebody decides to take it to the next level and act on it. Therefore, it’s time to tone it down.
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People should stop the accusations. If they were put in the same situation they wouldn’t want people to do this either. Curtis, people are just selfish and don’t look at the whole situation they only take what they know and make assumptions from that. I know that you will get through this Curtis. There are many hater but you also have so much support!
* is there a place to read a bit more detailed information regarding the case or is it’s nature sensitive due to the trial?
There is a lot of (mis)information floating around on Twitter and Vine. As we said in our press release, no good can come of publically discussing the details due to the sensitive nature of the case.
* Are friends or online fans of curtis’s allowed to offer donations towards legal fees or are his legal fees covered?
Curtis’ fees are covered through preliminary hearing (see below).
* is there an expected time frame that the trial will be taking and are you able to know when a verdict will be presented?
The process by which cases proceed is as follows. First, a person is arraigned. That is where the prosecution files a document called a complaint which sets forth the charges. The arraignment is where the defendant then enters a plea of not guilty and the process begins. The next step is a preliminary hearing, but most of the time there are intervening hearings called preliminary hearing setting (PHS). At PHS hearings, the parties exchange evidence and settlement negotiations take place and, ultimately, the date and time of the actual preliminary hearing is decided. In Curtis’ case, our next hearing is another PHS. We have not yet set a date for a preliminary hearing. If Curtis’ case does not resolve at PHS, then there will be a preliminary hearing, which is a sort of a “mini-trial” with several notable differences:
- There is no jury. The judge hears prosecution and defense witnesses testimony;
- The prosecution is not required to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. Instead, all they must do is show that there is a “strong suspicion” (also referred to as probable cause) that a crime was committed and the defendant committed it;
- If the prosecution makes the showing of probable cause, the defendant is “bound over” meaning only that the prosecution is given permission to take the case to trial.
Following a preliminary hearing at which a defendant is bound over, the entire process start over again. The defendant is arraigned again, this time on a document called an “information” and the case is set for trial. At trial, a jury of 12 people must unanimously agree beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the charge. That decision by the jury is the verdict.
Since Curtis’ case is still at the PHS stage, it is a long, long way to a verdict. The cyber-jabber we have seen clearly is completely out of touch with the reality of how a case proceeds, as they talk about things as though the trial is underway and a verdict is imminent. It’s absolute nonsense.
Without discussing any of the details of Curtis’ case, you can see how distorted the information on the blogosphere is. If you want to stay updated, you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or RSS directly from our website.