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Kanye West May Skate

9/12/2008 1:50 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Kanye West was not provoked into attacking a still photographer, according to an American Airlines employee who witnessed the whole scene that was caught on tape. Nevertheless, Kanye could easily beat the rap.
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Law enforcement sources told TMZ, at the time of the arrest, Kanye could be charged with felony vandalism. But here's what we know. The still camera that was broken is a Canon 40D -- retail price $1429.96. In California, someone who criminally damages property worth more than $400 can be prosecuted for felony vandalism.

But here's the rub: look closely at the video. Kanye and the bodyguard wrestle the camera away from the photog, but the bodyguard ends up with the camera ... Kanye is holding the light unit. We did some checking and found the light unit is only worth around $100, so here's the irony -- the bodyguard could be processed for a felony, but not Kanye.

BTW -- It was the bodyguard, not Kanye that broke our cam (retail value: $7000).

If Kanye is prosecuted at all, it's likely it would be for a misdemeanor. But prosecuting a celebrity where the victim is a paparazzo -- good luck, Mr. City Attorney.

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