Chris Brown charged over brutal attack on Rihanna

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The Independent US

Singer Chris Brown appeared in a Los Angeles court, hours after he was charged over a brutal attack on his girlfriend Rihanna.

Brown's arraignment on charges of assault likely to cause great bodily injury and making criminal threats was postponed until 6 April.

The 19-year-old R&B singer was remanded on £36,000 bail.

A court commissioner ordered him not to harass, threaten or harm anyone. But at the request of Donald Etra, a lawyer representing singer Rihanna, who is widely reported to have forgiven Brown, the commissioner did not order Brown to stay away from her.

Brown, wearing a pinstripe suit, clasped his hands behind his back as he walked into the court. He answered a few questions from the commissioner as his mother watched from the front row with a group of family members.

Police details of the alleged attack offered a starkly different portrait of Brown than the squeaky-clean image he has cultivated.

The young man once praised for his Michael Jackson-esque dance moves is described in a detective's affidavit as punching his girlfriend, biting her ear and trying to choke her until she nearly lost consciousness.

His arrest prompted an exodus of sponsors and a retreat into secrecy for both Brown and Rihanna. The couple were among the marquee names scheduled to appear and perform at the Grammys on February 8, but the alleged attack forced both to cancel their appearances.

Neither Brown nor his lawyer spoke to reporters after yesterday's hearing.

The felony complaint handed down in court identifies Brown's alleged victim only as "Robyn F" (Rihanna's real name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty). The Disturbia singer's lawyer also identified her as Brown's alleged victim.

Mr Etra declined to say whether Rihanna would testify against Brown, or whether the couple had reunited. "I'm not here to discuss the relationship," he said.

If convicted, Brown's possible sentence ranges anywhere from probation to four years and eight months in state prison, said district attorney's spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons.

According to a detective's affidavit, Brown and Rihanna got into a fight early on 8 February after she checked her boyfriend's mobile phone and found a text message from another woman.

Brown pulled his car over and tried to push Rihanna out, but she was still wearing her seat belt, Los Angeles Police detective De Shon Andrews wrote.

Brown pushed Rihanna's head against the window, punched her with his right hand, and then continued driving while hitting her, the affidavit said, and also bit her on the ear.

The affidavit was filed as part of a search warrant request for the phone records of Brown, Rihanna and her assistant.

Brown allegedly threatened to kill Rihanna after she pretended to leave a phone message with her assistant, telling her to have the police waiting at her house.

Mr Andrews described Brown's blows as causing Rihanna's mouth to fill with blood. He also wrote that Brown tried to choke Rihanna after she took the keys to his car away. He said Rihanna nearly lost consciousness but also tried to fight back while in the car, at one point trying to gouge at Brown's eyes.

Brown was arrested hours later and booked on suspicion of making criminal threats.

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

According to Andrews' affidavit, Brown and Rihanna started dating about a year and half ago. The couple have never officially confirmed their romance, but have been frequently spotted together, cuddling or holding hands.

Brown issued a statement a week after the incident saying that he was "sorry and saddened" about the incident. Rihanna also later issued a statement, saying she would not comment on the alleged beating at the request of authorities. She thanked fans for their support.

This article is taken from The Belfast Telegraph