Ex-'American Idol 2' finalist Corey Clark pleads guilty, facing jail time
By Christopher Rocchio, 10/12/2007
Corey Clark's long list of legal troubles could apparently land him behind bars for a while.
The disqualified former American Idol second-season finalist pleaded guilty last week in Arizona to felony aggravated harassment involving domestic violence for trespassing on his father-in-law's property, and as a result he could face up to two years in jail, E! News reported Thursday.
Because Clark's estranged wife was staying at her father Esmundo Tejada's property in July 2006 when Clark showed up -- violating a restraining order obtained by Tejada's daughter -- the punishment for the 27-year-old Mount Juliet, TN-resident could reportedly be harsher than the minimum penalty of four to six months in jail, according to his plea deal in Yuma County Superior Court on October 2.
In addition, Clark will be placed on probation and could be fined as much as $150,000, according to E! News, which added sentencing is scheduled for November 1.
Clark was reportedly arrested by the Yuma County sheriff last summer on suspicion of trespassing and was charged with contempt of court for violating his estranged wife's order of protection, which remains in effect. Following the arrest, Clark once again violated the restraining order against him by placing several calls to the Tejada residence over a three-day span last August.
Since he failed to show for his arraignment on four charges of failing to comply with a court order, E! News reported a warrant was subsequently issued for his arrest in March.
Although he left Arizona, Clark couldn't outrun the warrant, as he was arrested in North Little Rock, AR in late July due to the outstanding warrants and charges of drug possession. Officers were dispatched following a report of a suspicious vehicle idling in the area, and as they approached, Clark exited from the passenger-side door and was subsequently arrested on charges of possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
Once officers ran his name through state and national crime information databases, they learned that Clark had outstanding warrants for his arrest in Arizona. North Little Rock police then contacted Arizona officials and agreed to hold Clark for up to 15 days while the extradition process begins.
While E! News reported the four felony counts have been dismissed pending his successful completion of probation, he could still spend time behind bars due to his violation of the restraining order.
Clark appeared as an Idol 2 finalist during the Spring 2003 edition of the Fox mega-hit. But instead of being shown the door due to home viewer votes, he was booted by the show's producers for covering up his arrest for battery against his then teenage sister as well as prior lawsuits against him for passing bad checks. In a plea-bargain, Clark subsequently pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of obstruction of process and received a suspended sentence and probation.
However Clark didn't go quietly and instead alleged that he and Idol judge Paula Abdul had a sexual relationship while he was competing on show. In addition, Clark alleged that Abdul had helped him with his song choices and wardrobe, only to stop returning his calls once he was disqualified. A Fox investigation cleared Abdul of any wrongdoing but she and Clark both received a good ribbing from the media.
In June 2005, Sacramento, CA police were called to Clark's hotel room after other guests reported hearing a fight. Clark and his ex-girlfriend both reportedly had scratched arms and she was also bruised. Clark was given a summons for a misdemeanor domestic assault charge and released; described the incident as a "huge misunderstanding;" and the charges were eventually dropped.