Chris Brown sentenced to community service

Chris Brown pleaded guilty to assaulting Rihanna and the two were ordered to stay away from each other, in a deal that keeps the singer out of prison but requires him to clean up graffiti or roadside trash.



Brown's plea to a felony charge will subject him to substantial scrutiny by probation officials, and the judge's order rules out any short-term prospects for reconciliation with his pop diva girlfriend as well.

The guilty plea came before a preliminary hearing was scheduled to start. The hearing had been billed for weeks as a public face-off between the pair, with Rihanna set to testify against her one-time boyfriend.

Instead, Brown averted the potentially damaging meeting by entering a plea that will subject him to probation for the next five years as well as force him to perform six months of community service.

Mark Geragos, Brown's lawyer, said the plea represented the singer taking responsibility for his actions — which included beating, choking and biting Rihanna during a fight early Feb. 8, according to police.

After Brown left the courtroom, Rihanna entered and was addressed by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Patricia Schnegg, who explained to the Barbados-born singer that she had issued a stay-away order.

Rihanna had not been seeking such an order, but the judge imposed one anyway. The order requires that Brown and Rihanna stay at least 50 yards (45 meters) from each other, except at industry events when the distance is reduced to 10 yards (nine meters).

The judge also told Rihanna it is not a one-way order — and that she, too, should not get any closer to Brown than the order allows.

"This is a kid who's never been in trouble before," Geragos said after the hearing. "He embraces this as a chance to get the message out that domestic violence will not be tolerated. He wants to get his life back on track."

Brown will be formally sentenced on 5 August.

Schnegg accepted Brown's plea, but expressed some concerns because Brown is not a California resident. She said Brown likely will be allowed to do his service in his home state of Virginia, but she did not want him to spend his time at churches or community centers.

Instead, Schnegg ordered Brown to get his hands dirty by doing work equivalent to what he would do in California — clean up grafitti or roadside trash.

She also said he'll have to return to California every three months and attend domestic violence counseling.

Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office, said the terms were in line with what others receive when they are charged with similar crimes and have no prior criminal history.

Brown spoke softly throughout the hearing as he waived his rights and told the judge he understood the gravity of his plea.

"I think it's commendable you took responsibility for your conduct," Schnegg told Brown.

She said she hoped "the terms and conditions of your probation will have some meaning."

Rihanna spoke briefly, too, telling Schnegg she understood the terms of the stay-away order and that after Brown's sentencing she might ask for its terms to be loosened.

Rihanna, 21, recorded one of 2007's most popular songs with "Umbrella" and has numerous other hits. Her looks have made her a cover girl for magazines, as well as a pitchwoman for Cover Girl cosmetics.

The deal provides an end to a case that sparked intense media interest and severe backlash against Brown. Sponsors and radio stations dropped him, and the singer had to cancel several high-profile appearances, including a performance at the Grammys.

The singer once known for his squeaky-clean image now has a substantial blemish on his record. Brown, 20, rose to fame after the 2005 hit "Run It!" He was nominated for a Grammy for "No Air" with Jordin Sparks and named Billboard's top artist in 2008.

Intense media coverage led to Rihanna being identified as Brown's victim mere hours after the attack. Within weeks, a photo of the singer and model's bruised and battered face was posted on celebrity gossip site TMZ.

The posting sparked an investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department into whether one of its own officers leaked the photo to the Web site. Brown's attorney unsuccessfully argued the leak hurt Brown and that he should be granted access to LAPD's investigative files.

Brown recently proclaimed in a video posted to YouTube that he was "not a monster."

Even after Monday's hearing, lawyers for Brown and Rihanna refused to discuss the status of the pair's relationship.

Brown was arrested hours after police say he hit and threatened Rihanna after leaving a pre-Grammy party in Los Angeles. He was later charged with felony assault likely to produce great bodily harm and making criminal threats.

If convicted, the singer faced sentences ranging up to nearly five years in prison.

After an inital retreat from the public eye, both musicians have gradually appeared in public more frequently. Lately they have been photographed separately, including at a National Basketball Association finals game between the Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers.

But neither has been able to shake the stigma of the court case and return to their usual jobs — making music.

The logistics of Brown's sentence may make it difficult to get back to his job.

"It amounts to a very sweaty house arrest," said Loyola University Law School Professor Stan Goldman, who was in the courtroom. "You have to have the discipline to show up several times a week. How many times will this interfere with a record date or an appearance?"

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Former Communards frontman Jimmy Somerville
music
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne as transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl
filmFirst look at Oscar winner as transgender artist
Arts and Entertainment
Season three of 'House of Cards' will be returning later this month
TV reviewHouse of Cards returns to Netflix
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford will play Rick Deckard once again for the Blade Runner sequel
film review
Arts and Entertainment
The modern Thunderbirds: L-R, Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon and John in front of their home, the exotic Tracy Island
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
film review
Arts and Entertainment

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith arrives at the Brit Awards (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn's beheading in BBC Two's Wolf Hall

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Follow every rainbow: Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'
film Elizabeth Von Trapp reveals why the musical is so timeless
Arts and Entertainment
Bytes, camera, action: Leehom Wang in ‘Blackhat’
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Libertines will headline this year's festival
music
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Dean Anderson in the original TV series, which ran for seven seasons from 1985-1992
tv
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
    Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

    Lost without a trace

    But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
    Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

    Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

    Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
    International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
    Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

    Confessions of a planespotter

    With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
    Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

    Russia's gulag museum

    Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
    The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

    The big fresh food con

    Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
    Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

    Virginia Ironside was my landlady

    Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
    Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

    Paris Fashion Week 2015

    The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
    8 best workout DVDs

    8 best workout DVDs

    If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
    Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

    Paul Scholes column

    I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
    Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
    Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

    Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

    The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable