A D.C. Superior Court judge Monday denied a request by Chris Brown’s attorneys to dismiss the R&B singer’s misdemeanor assault case, but ruled the entertainer and his bodyguard can have separate trials.
The 24-year-old Grammy winner and his bodyguard, Christopher Hollosy, 35, were each charged with one count of misdemeanor assault after an October altercation with a fan outside the W Hotel in downtown Washington. Brown’s attorneys have said he is innocent and that he and Hollosy were trying to protect Brown and his property.
Neither Brown nor Hollosy was in court Monday. Brown, according to a spokesman at the U.S. Marshals Service, was expected to arrive in Washington late Monday. Brown is in marshalls’ custody after a District judge ordered him extradited to Washington last week. Upon Brown’s arrival, a marshals service spokesman said the entertainer will be held in a Washington-area jail until his trial.
Brown is in custody after a California judge ordered him locked up for allegedly making threats about using guns while in an anger-management rehabilitation center last month. He had been ordered to the inpatient facility as part of his plea deal in connection with his 2009 conviction for assaulting his then-girlfriend, pop star Rihanna. He was scheduled to remain in the jail until April 23.
Both men face a maximum of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. But if Brown is convicted, he also faces as much as additional four years in jail in California as a result of violating the terms of his probation in the Rihanna case, his attorney, Mark J. Geragos said.
During the hearing, defense attorneys for the men argued they wanted separate trials, mainly because Hollosy wanted to testify on behalf of Brown. . Wynn sided with the attorneys and severed the case. That means Hollosy’s trial will be on April 17. On April 18, depending on if Hollosy’s trial is over and the judge issued a verdict, Brown’s trial could begin, Senior Judge Patricia A. Wynn ruled at Monday’s hearing. There will not be a jury in either trial since they are misdemeanor cases.
Also Monday, attorneys for Brown and Hollosy argued the case should be dismissed because they said prosecutors violated their clients’ rights when prosecutors had a witness to the incident testify before a grand jury. That witness, the attorneys said, originally told prosecutors that it was Hollosy who struck the victim. But before the grand jury, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Chambers said the witness “corrected” her statement and said it was Brown who struck the victim.
Defense attorneys argued the case should be thrown out because they were not aware that the witness was being called in the misdemeanor case. Prosecutors said having the witness testify was appropriate. The judge agreed with the prosecutors.
In the third motion of the day, Wynn also agreed with prosecutors that a crucial statement made by Hollosy at the time of the altercation, can be used in his trial. During the hearing, prosecutors called D. C. detective Kimberly Metivier who arrived on the scene on the night of the assault. Metivier testified that when she arrived, Brown was sitting on his custom-made, tour bus, parked outside the hotel.
Metivier told the judge when she arrived, Hollosy had gotten off the bus and began yelling. “He hit the victim, not Brown. He said to arrest him, not Mr. Brown,” Metivier testified. “He wanted to make it very clear that he punched the victim, not Brown.”
Hollosy’s attorney, Bernie Grimm argued his client had not been read his rights when he made the statements and his comments should not be allowed as evidence in the trial.
To illustrate his case, Grimm played a security video obtained from the Treasury Department’s security camera across the street from the hotel. The video showed Hollosy standing in the doorway of the bus. In front of him stood secret service agents, who had responded to the 911 call, as well several police officers. The video also showed parked police cars around the parked bus.
Grimm argued his client was in actual custody when he made the statements. But Assistant U.S. Attorney Kendra Briggs argued he was not. “He made a simple statement to police telling them what happened when the detective asked him what happened. There was no interrogation and he was not in custody,” Briggs said.
Wynn agreed with prosecutors and ruled Hollosy’s statements could be used as evidence during his trial.
What actually happened on the morning of Oct. 27 is still disputed. Metivier testified Hollosy told police that the victim tried to board Brown’s tour bus after Brown refused to take a picture with him and that he was protecting Brown and his property when he struck him.
But in the $3 million lawsuit filed by the victim, Parker Adams, 20, of Beltsville, Adams said the men punched him in the face after Brown refused to take a picture with him. Adams filed the lawsuit in February against both men. His attorney, John C. Hayes, Jr. later added his client never tried to board Brown’s tour bus.