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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pedro Pascal gives a weird look at the camera in the blooper reel

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Public vote: Art Everywhere poster in a bus shelter featuring John Hoyland
art
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Judd Apatow’s make-it-up-as-you-go-along approach is ideal for comedies about stoners and slackers slouching towards adulthood
filmWith comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Arts and Entertainment
booksForget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Arts and Entertainment
Off set: Bab El Hara
tvTV series are being filmed outside the country, but the influence of the regime is still being felt
Arts and Entertainment
Red Bastard: Where self-realisation is delivered through monstrous clowning and audience interaction
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
O'Shaughnessy pictured at the Unicorn Theatre in London
tvFiona O'Shaughnessy explains where she ends and her strange and wonderful character begins
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rhino Doodle by Jim Carter (Downton Abbey)

TV
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film

film
Arts and Entertainment
Comedian 'Weird Al' Yankovic

Is the comedy album making a comeback?

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in the first-look Fifty Shades of Grey movie still

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, centre, are up for Best Female TV Comic for their presenting quips on The Great British Bake Off

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in the TV adaptation of 'Fargo'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules

film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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.

    Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

    Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
    The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

    The air strikes were tragically real

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns
    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

    Britain as others see us

    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

    Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
    How did our legends really begin?

    How did our legends really begin?

    Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
    Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell