Rush Guitarist, Son Enter Pleas To Reduced Charges

By John Henderson, Naples Daily News, April 21, 2005

The lead guitarist for the rock group Rush and his son accepted plea agreements on Thursday morning in which they will serve no jail time on charges related to a New Year's Eve 2003 altercation with Collier County Sheriff's deputies.

Alex Zivojinovich, known on stage as Alex Lifeson, and his son Justin, will serve 12 months probation and pay court costs as part of the agreement.

The state made the offer a day after a judge reduced the third-degree felony charge that Justin was facing down to a misdemeanor charge. The felony could have resulted in him serving five years in prison.

The agreement calls for Alex and Justin to plead no contest to a single misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest without violence. Adjudication is being withheld, meaning there will not be a formal conviction on their records if probation is successfully completed.

Zivojinovich and his son were at the bash at the Ritz-Carlton, Naples hotel ringing in New Year's Eve 2004 when the altercation with deputies occurred.

Justin and his friends agitated hotel security when they got up on the platform where the house band was taking a break. Security called deputies, who ended up escorting Justin out of the hotel. A deputy testified that he felt threatened as he was escorting Justin out of the hotel when Justin broke one of his arms free from a grip deputies had behind his back.

Senior Circuit Judge Charles T. Carlton ruled Wednesday that this act was not enough for the third-degree resisting arrest with "violence" charge to stand. Prosecutors said the case against Alex involved many of the same witnesses, which is why they decided to offer the plea.