Did Russell Brand's Arrest Ruin His Green Card Chances?
Following Russell Brand's recent arrest, could the British star's immigration status be in jeopardy now?
The Get Him to the Greek actor allegedly got into a fight with a paparazzo at LAX on Friday after the photographer reportedly tried to stick his camera up the skirt of Russell's fiancee, Katy Perry. Russell was arrested for misdemeanor battery and released on $20,000 bail.
Celebuzz exclusively spoke with Raed Gonzalez, a Houston-area lawyer from Garza & Associates who specialized in immigration law. According to Raed, Katy would still have to petition for Russell (who is British) to become an American citizen, since non-Americans are not automatically granted citizenship when marry an American.
Losing the ability to gain citizenship–or even to get a green card–could hurt Russell's burgeoning Hollywood career, which took off after her landed supporting role in 2008's Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Watch the trailer below.
Celebuzz also talked with Michael Wildes, a renowned immigration lawyer and former federal prosecutor from Wildes & Weinberg firm in New York, who was clear that Russell's case was "very serious." Michael says that is is important that Russell hires a good immigration lawyer in addition to a criminal lawyer, because often would-be citizens cop a plea deal in a criminal case only to discover that they've put their future citizenship into jeopardy.
"This is more serious because of his acclaim and notoriety," said Michael, "There's no hiding."
One thing that Michael and Raed both agree on is that Russell may need to apply for a waiver of his criminal charges in order to get the government to commit to giving him a green card. Waivers are not uncommon for non-Americans looking to live and work in the United States. Michael tells us that his father (famed lawyer Leon Wildes) applied for similar waivers for John Lennon in the 1970s. The former Beatle was prevented from getting his green card due to past criminal charges.
Watch John talk about the charges keeping him out of the US below.
"[Russell] may be historically in good company," says Michael, who was quick to stress that this was still a very serious case.
If the actor is worried about his status, he hasn't let the public seen him sweat. The comedian tweeted thanks to his fans for their "sweet messages" and then jokingly claimed that he is a "proficient criminal" thanks to the tips he picked up "in chokey."
Russell is expected to appear in court in October 15.
Do you think Russell may lose his chance to land citizenship? Share your thoughts in the comments below.