Russell Brand I'm Fighting the B.S. Felony Charge

3/18/2012 5:30 AM PDT

Russell Brand: I'm Fighting the B.S. Felony Charge

Russell Brand claims he was provoked by the paparazzi last Monday when he grabbed a photog's cell phone and threw it through a window -- and he's going to use provocation to fight any charge that might be filed against him ... sources close to Brand tell TMZ.

Brand was arrested Thursday for a felony, since the value of the window and the iPhone exceeded the $500 minimum for the crime.

Brand has hired a high-powered New Orleans lawyer -- Robert Glass. We're told if Brand is officially charged with the felony, Glass will argue that the damages were less than $500 -- Russell paid $240 to fix the window, and we're told Russell will claim damage to the iPhone was minor.

Brand is free on $5,000 bond.