Battery Charges Against Rush Guitarist Diminished - But He's Not Off The Hook

Alex Lifeson Still Faces Fine And/Or Jail Time

By Jon Wiederhorn, MTV News, March 22, 2004

A circuit court in Collier County, Florida, has charged Alex Lifeson (a.k.a. Alex Zivojinovich), the guitarist for Canadian power trio Rush, with two third-degree felony counts of battery against a law-enforcement officer.

The charges stem from a New Year's Eve incident in which Lifeson became enraged after security personnel at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel restaurant in Naples, Florida, prevented Lifeson's son Justin from joining the house band onstage to sing to his wife. Police became involved and Lifeson allegedly elbowed one in the face, pushed a female officer down a staircase, and ripped an officer's radio from his uniform.

The third-degree battery charges were knocked down from two first-degree charges of aggravated battery against a law-enforcement officer. Four additional charges against Lifeson were dropped: resisting/obstructing an officer with violence, resisting/obstructing an officer without violence, disorderly intoxication and depriving an officer of the protection of a communication device.

The rocker will appear before a judge of the 20th Judicial Circuit Court in Naples on May 17. If convicted, Lifeson could face a fine of $500 or more and/or jail time. In the New Year's Eve fight, cops allegedly broke Lifeson's nose and zapped him four times with a stun gun to restrain him. The guitarist spent two nights in jail before he was released.