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Former NBA star Scottie Pippen won't face charges over Malibu fracas

Former NBA Chicago Bulls player Scottie Pippen (L) smiles during a news conference inside a mall of Asia Arena in Manila, July 17, 2012. REU
Former NBA Chicago Bulls player Scottie Pippen (L) smiles during a news conference inside a mall of Asia Arena in Manila, July 17, 2012. REU

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Former Chicago Bulls basketball star Scottie Pippen will not be prosecuted over an altercation with a man at a Malibu restaurant in June, prosecutors said on Tuesday, citing insufficient evidence.

Pippen, 47, was questioned by police following a scuffle with the man outside the Nobu eatery in the oceanfront community of Malibu in June.

Camran Shafighi told police that Pippen refused to take a photograph with him while the former NBA star was dining in the restaurant with his family, according to a report by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

Shafighi said that when he later approached Pippen in the parking lot, the former athlete spit in his face, punched him in the mouth, knocked him down and kicked him in the face, causing him to lose consciousness, the report from prosecutors said.

Shafighi later sued Pippen over the confrontation.

Pippen, a seven-time NBA All-Star, told police that Shafighi spit at him first and he spit back, and that he then pushed Shafighi, who fell back and started kicking at him, according to the prosecutors' report. Pippen told police he raised his foot to block the blows from Shafighi.

There is "insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt" that Pippen is guilty of committing a crime against Shafighi, the District Attorney's Office report said.

Shafighi, who was hospitalized after the scuffle, had a blood alcohol content of 0.18, which was more than twice the legal limit for driving, according to the report.

There was also an "absolute lack of physical injuries" that one would expect from the blows Shafighi told investigators that Pippen inflicted on him, and his behavior at the hospital was described by a physician as "feigning non-existent injuries inflicted by a celebrity suspect," the prosecutors report said.

Shafighi's attorney did not return calls seeking comment.

Pippen won six National Basketball Association championships with the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s, playing alongside basketball great Michael Jordan. He also played for the Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers before ending his career back in Chicago in the 2003-04 season.

He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Peter Cooney)

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