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Rap star Kanye West charged in airport scuffle

 Musician Kanye West performs during the Z100 Jingle Ball in New York December 12, 2008. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson - Reuters
Musician Kanye West performs during the Z100 Jingle Ball in New York December 12, 2008. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
— image credit: Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Rap star Kanye West was charged on Wednesday with battery, theft and vandalism in connection with a September 11, 2008 scuffle with paparazzi at Los Angeles International Airport.

The L.A. District Attorney's Office has accused West, 31, of smashing camera equipment in the encounter. He faces up to two and a half years in prison if convicted on all the misdemeanor charges.

West, who won the Grammy in 2005 for best rap album of the year for his release "The College Dropout," was arrested after the scuffle and released on bail the same day. He is expected to appear in court on April 14.

A representative for West was not available to comment on the indictment. The District Attorney declined to press more serious felony charges and passed the case on to the L.A. City Attorney to consider lesser misdemeanor offenses.

Frank Mateljan, a spokesman for the L.A. City Attorney's Office, said the charges stemmed from the scuffle in which West allegedly wrestled away a camera light and then smashed it into the ground.

Authorities on Wednesday also charged West's manager, Don Crawley, 33, with two counts each of vandalism, grand theft and battery for his alleged involvement in the incident. He faces up to five years behind bars if convicted.

Cable channel MTV last year named West the hottest rap "MC" in the hip-hop world.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Paul Simao)

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