Nick Carter’s criminal record is now officially as clean as fellow Backstreet Boy AJ McLean’s liver. His lawyer announced Thursday that prosecutors in Florida’s Hillsborough County have dropped all charges against the boy-band singer relating to his January arrest after a wee-hours melee at a Tampa nightclub. ”I am glad to have this behind me,” Carter said in a statement.
In February, lawyer Scott Salomon agreed to a plea deal in which his client would pay a $290 fine and perform 16 hours of community service in return for having his record wiped clean. However, Salomon said, it took seven months to seal the deal. ”Until now the finality of the deal was under speculation,” he said in a statement. (Meantime, Carter has performed a full 40 hours of community service, Salomon says.) Before today, the 22-year-old could still have faced a misdemeanor count of resisting arrest that could have resulted in up to a year behind bars. And he didn’t want it that way. ”This was a case of a major celebrity being used as an opportunity for a flashy arrest,” Salomon said. ”Nick did not do anything wrong, but be a celebrity in the wrong place at the wrong time. The police have a tendency to make a big deal over a very minor altercation.”
That’s not what prosecutors said when he was arrested. ”He is a first-time offender, and we treated him just like anyone else,” Florida Assistant State Attorney Pam Bondi said at the time of the singer’s first court date in February. According to the police report of the Jan. 2 incident, a cop trying to restore order after a number of fights had broken out at Tampa’s Pop City asked Carter to leave the club 10 times and arrested him after his repeated refusals. A witness told EW.com that Carter appeared to be drinking, that he and his pals were ”loud and obnoxious and causing problems” all night, and that one of Carter’s friends was also thrown out of the bar.
Now that the matter is settled, Carter can focus on finishing his solo album, which he has said he hopes to release in late September. Then we’ll see if the member of the fading boy band can still get arrested.