Pop star Bruno Mars told a Las Vegas judge Friday that he’ll plead guilty in state court on Valentine’s Day to a felony cocaine charge that would be wiped from his record if he stays out of trouble for a year.
Mars, whose real name is Peter Hernandez, and a trio of defense lawyers agreed not to contest police accounts that he possessed 2.6 grams of cocaine when he was arrested early Sept. 19 after a Las Vegas nightclub performance.
Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Joseph Sciscento set the Feb. 14 date for his plea – the day after the 53rd Grammy Awards show in Los Angeles.
Defense lawyer Blair Berk said her client appreciated the chance he was receiving as a first offender. “We’re extremely pleased the charge against Bruno is going to be dismissed,” she said. The plea deal worked out last week calls for Mars to spend a year on probation, pay a $2,000 fine, perform 200 hours of community service and complete drug counseling.
He spent a night in the Clark County jail in Las Vegas following his arrest in a casino restroom after a nightclub performance at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The hotel-casino is separate from the restaurant chain with the same name.
Police said Mars handed over a bag containing 2.6 grams of cocaine, and told the arresting officer he’d never used drugs before.
Mars was a child entertainer in Hawaii before moving to Los Angeles in 2002 to pursue his entertainment career. The 25-year-old singer-songwriter is nominated for seven Grammy awards, including best male pop vocal.