Can't Justin Bieber get into trouble for Tweeting some kid's phone number?
—Belieber, via the inbox
You speak of 15-year-old Michigan native Kevin Kristopik, whose cell number was blasted to more than 4.5 million people via Bieber's Twitter. Kristopik awakened the wrath of the swooshy-haired gods after allegedly hacking into the Twitter account of a Bieber bud.
Justin got his revenge, tweeting Kristopik's number as his own. So will Bieber have to fire his swagga coach to pay legal fees?
Not likely, attorneys tell me.
Yes, Kristopik did have to abandon his phone number and shut down his Twitter account after he was buried in more than 26,00 texts from slavering Beliebers. But criminal or even civil damages are going to very hard to pursue, says Robert Goldman, an attorney and psychologist for the Suffolk County Probation Department in New York.
"Justin Bieber is not likely to face criminal charges but a civil suit is a possibility," Goldberg tells me.
"He would need to establish that the number was private, so that there was an expectancy of privacy, and the plaintiff would have to establish that there were damages as a consequence of these actions."
And therein, Goldman says, is the rub.
Did a 15-year-old suffer any real damages when he got those 26,000 messages, mostly from screaming young tweens? Or—wait a minute. Did Bieber actually do this kid a favor?
"It is hard to estimate the amount in damages," Goldman says. "There would need to be causation with respect to his actions that caused harm—for example, if someone used the number to threaten or physically harm the person."
So. Even if some sanctimonious Bieber fans did sass Kristopik, proving any real physical danger—other than, perhaps, a stampede of tweens bearing American Girl dolls as weapons—might be a wee tad tough.
In other words, the Justin Bieber army will most likely roll on, swagga coach still firmly in place.