Justin Timberlake is claiming ignorance of Tennessee election law after nearly landing in hot water for taking a photo of himself at a Memphis polling place earlier this week.
Timberlake appeared on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” on Wednesday night to discuss the snafu, saying he “had no idea” that his selfie was a no-no in the eyes of the law.
“I recently voted … but super-quiet, under the radar,” Timberlake joked.
“Do you have any advice for anyone out there?” Fallon asked.
“Get out and vote,” Timberlake said to applause. “But, um — damn straight — don’t take a picture of yourself in there.”
“I had no idea!” Timberlake continued. “I was like, ‘This is gonna be great, inspire people to vote,’ and then it’s like [sad trumpet sounds].”
“The 20/20 Experience” singer found himself at the center of controversy after posting an Instagram photo of himself at a polling place. Timberlake intended the photo to be a get-out-the-vote effort.
“Hey! You! Yeah, YOU! I just flew from LA to Memphis to #rockthevote !!! No excuses, my good people!” Timberlake, a Hillary Clinton supporter, wrote in a caption accompanying the photo. “There could be early voting in your town too. If not, November 8th! Choose to have a voice! If you don’t, then we can’t HEAR YOU! Get out and VOTE! #excerciseyourrighttovote.”
Unfortunately, the singer’s gesture appeared to run afoul of a recently passed Tennessee state law, and Timberlake found himself possibly facing a 30-day jail sentence and a $50 fine after a spokesman the Shelby County, Tennessee district attorney’s office announced that the case was “under review.”
Luckily for Timberlake, that statement turned out to be erroneous. Shortly after it was issued, Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich clarified that her office wouldn’t be pursuing charges against Timberlake.
“The statement released earlier today by my office regarding Justin Timberlake and an investigation was incorrect and was released without my knowledge,” Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich said in a subsequent statement.
“I am out of town at a conference. No one in our office is currently investigating this matter nor will we be using our limited resources to do so.”
Watch Timberlake discuss his good intentions gone awry in the video.