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Rapper Kanye West cleared in airport scuffle

 Hip hop artist Kanye West watches Game 1 of the NBA Finals basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Orlando Magic in Los Angeles, June 4, 2009. REUTERS/Mike Blake

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A judge on Friday cleared rapper Kanye West of criminal charges following a scuffle with paparazzi at Los Angeles International Airport last year, pending his completion of community service, a spokesman for the Los Angeles City Attorney said.

Grammy award-winning West, who has often captured media attention with public outbursts, and his manager were charged in March with battery, theft and vandalism following the September 11, 2008 confrontation with a photographer.

West, whose hits include "Jesus Walks" and "Hey Mama," and the manager were released on bail hours after their arrest.

The judge on Friday said the charges would be dismissed if they performed 50 community service hours, according to L.A. City Attorney's Office spokesman Frank Mateljan. The two have already completed an anger management course, Mateljan said.

The incident rattled nerves at the airport during the seventh anniversary of the day of the September 11 attacks. It was not the last time West has been in trouble for a public outburst.

British media reported in November 2008 that West, 32, was detained and released without charge after a suspected confrontation with a photographer near a nightclub in England.

He made international headlines in September when he got up on stage and interrupted an acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards.

(Writing by Corinne Heller; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Eric Walsh)

 
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