Friday 9 December 2016

Justin Timberlake escapes criminal probe into election vote selfie

Published 26/10/2016 | 04:51

Justin Timberlake took a selfie while voting in the US presidential election in Memphis (AP)
Justin Timberlake took a selfie while voting in the US presidential election in Memphis (AP)

Justin Timberlake appears to have avoided a possible criminal investigation into a selfie he took while voting in the US presidential election.

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The American pop star posted a photograph on Instagram showing him casting a ballot in Memphis, Tennessee, with a message encouraging people to vote ahead of the November 8 poll.

Under Tennessee state law which came into force earlier this year, it is illegal to take photographs or shoot video while inside a polling location.

A statement released by the Shelby County District Attorney's office said it had been "made aware of a possible violation of state election law" and the matter was "under review".

But later District Attorney General Amy Weirich said her office's statement was "incorrect" and released without her knowledge.

"No-one in our office is currently investigating this matter nor will we be using our limited resources to do so," she said.

A spokesman for the District Attorney's Office said that for a review to be launched "law enforcement officials would have to present facts to us".

The misdemeanour crime of taking a photo inside a polling station is punishable by 30 days in jail or a 50 dollar (£41) fine, or both, the spokesman added.

In an Instagram post to his 37 million followers on Monday, Timberlake said he had flown from Los Angeles to Memphis to cast his early vote.

"No excuses, my good people!" he wrote. "There could be early voting in your town too. If not, November 8th! Choose to have a voice! If you don't, then we can't HEAR YOU! Get out and VOTE! #excerciseyourrighttovote."

Tennessee Secretary of State spokesman Adam Ghassemi said officials were "thrilled Justin can't stop the feeling" - a reference to one of Timberlake's songs - but reminded voters to only use their phones inside polling locations to help them vote.

Timberlake, 35, lives in California but grew up in the Memphis area and owns property near Nashville.

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