By PETE WALTON
Bruce Springsteen has pleaded guilty to drinking alcohol on federal property last November.
Two other charges against him were dismissed.
In a proceeding conducted online Feb. 24 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, federal Magistrate Judge Anthony Mautone fined the 71-year-old entertainer $540.
“I think I can pay that immediately, your honor,” Springsteen told the judge.
Mauntone gave the musician a week to pay the fine of $500 plus $40 in fees.
According to news reports citing an affidavit in the case, a ranger at the Sandy Hook section of the Gateway National Recreation Area saw Springsteen drink a shot of tequila before getting on his motorcycle late in the afternoon of Nov. 14.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Baker said the government did not believe it could prove the two other charges filed against Springsteen for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and reckless driving.
Baker said Springsteen submitted to a breath test which showed his blood alcohol level to be .02, well below the New Jersey threshold for impaired driving.
Dressed in a sport jacket, sweater vest and a shirt unbuttoned at the collar, and with his attorney Mitchell Ansell at his side, Springsteen told the judge he was pleading guilty to drinking where it was not permitted.
“I had two small shots of tequila,” Springsteen told Mautone.
The performer said he was aware it was illegal to consume alcohol in that area.
Springsteen said he understood that he was waiving his right to a trial by pleading guilty.
The judge noted that drinking alcohol had been permitted at Sandy Hook up until two years ago.
Mautone said he reviewed Springsteen’s driving abstract “back to 1973” and found only three negative items, one of which was for using a handheld device while driving. The other two, according to the judge, were not infractions of the law.