Bruce Springsteen pleaded guilty Wednesday morning to consuming alcohol in a closed area during a Zoom-based proceeding in New Jersey federal court. “I had two small shots of tequila,” Springsteen said during the brief proceeding, which stemmed from his November 14 arrest in the Gateway National Recreation Area at Sandy Hook.
Springsteen had received three citations during this arrest — driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, and consuming alcohol in a closed area — but prosecutors asked for the DWI and reckless driving charges to be dismissed during today’s brief proceeding.
In explaining why they wanted to dismiss the DWI and reckless driving charges, prosecutors said they could not hit the burden of proof for a drunk driving rap. They said that Springsteen had a blood alcohol content of .02, which is significantly lower than the .08 legal threshold.
Judge Anthony Mautone agreed for these charges to be dismissed, and hit Springsteen with a $500 fine for the drinking count. He also has to pay another $40 in court fees. Mautone asked Springsteen, who was sporting what appeared to be a dark blazer with a dark sweater under it, how long it would take for him to pay the fine.
“I think I can pay that immediately, your honor,” Springsteen replied.
Spingsteen’s lawyer, Mitchell Ansell, said in a statement following the proceeding that his client is “pleased with the outcome of today’s court appearance. The prosecutor was unable to provide the necessary evidence and facts as it related to the charge of Driving under the Influence (DUI) and Reckless Driving and therefore, dismissed both of those charges.”
“Mr Springsteen, who has no previous criminal record of any kind, voluntarily plead guilty to a violation of consuming an alcoholic beverage in a closed area, agreeing to a fine of $500. We want to thank the Court and will have no further comment at this time.”
Springsteen, whom authorities previously described as “cooperative” during his arrest, admitted to cops that he took “two shots of tequila in the last 20 minutes,” according to court documents.
In the statement of probable cause, the arresting officer claimed: “While on foot patrol, I observed a male (Bruce F. Springsteen) consume a shot of Patrón tequila and then get on his motorcycle and start the engine. I contacted Springsteen and informed him alcohol is prohibited at Sandy Hook. The Patrón bottle that the shot was poured out of was completely empty (750 ml).”
The officer allegedly asked Springsteen if he was leaving the area. According to the arrest paperwork, “He confirmed that he was going to drive out of the park.” The doc also claimed “Springsteen smelt strongly of alcohol coming off his person and had glassy eyes.”
The cop claimed they had him do “standardized field sobriety tests and observed four out of six clues on the [horizontal gaze] test.” They claimed that he was “visibly swaying back and forth while I observed his eyes.” The document also maintained that they saw “five of eight clues on the walk and turn test.”
“Springsteen took 45 total steps during the walk and turn instead of the instructed 18 … Springsteen refused to provide a sample on the preliminary breath test.”
After news of Springsteen’s arrest emerged, his Super Bowl ad with Jeep was taken off YouTube, though it remains on his Instagram. This ad showed Springsteen driving a Jeep in the middle of the U.S., talking about uniting a divided nation. The spot sparked controversy with some Springsteen fans, who felt it didn’t go along with his strong expressions of progressive politics. A rep for Springsteen said Wednesday that Jeep had reinstated the ad.
This morning’s proceeding comes several days after Springsteen and Barack Obama launched a Spotify podcast, Renegades: Born in the USA. The podcast marks the second feature from Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground studio and will focus on “intimate conversations on topics of race, fatherhood, marriage, and their own personal and professional journeys,” a press release about the podcast explained.