Chris Brown Pleads Not Guilty in Assault of Rihanna

Associated Press
Tuesday, April 7, 2009

LOS ANGELES, April 6 -- Chris Brown pleaded not guilty Monday to threatening and assaulting his girlfriend, fellow music superstar Rihanna.

Brown, 19, appeared in a Los Angeles courtroom alongside his lawyer, Mark Geragos.

Brown entered his plea, speaking in a soft voice, while his mother sat in the first row, red-eyed.

He was charged in March by Los Angeles County prosecutors with felony assault likely to cause great bodily injury and making criminal threats. He was arrested nearly a month earlier after police said he was involved in an altercation with a woman who identified the singer as her attacker.

Court records list Brown's victim as "Robyn F." Rihanna's full name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty.

Rihanna, the 21-year-old "Umbrella" singer, was represented by Donald Etra, who said after the hearing that she is in "fine spirits" and spending time with her family in Barbados.

Etra said that Rihanna is hoping for a deal before a preliminary hearing or trial in the case but that she will testify if required to. Etra said Brown's plea was "totally expected."

If Brown is convicted, his sentence could range from probation to nearly five years in prison.

Neither side has publicly addressed Brown and Rihanna's relationship since the incident. But there has been discernible fallout since the arrest.

Both singers canceled scheduled performances at the Grammy Awards, which took place hours after the alleged beating, and neither appeared at the Kids' Choice Awards show March 28.

Sponsors have stopped using Brown, and some radio stations have stopped playing his music.

Brown left the courthouse with his mother, two bodyguards and an entourage. On his way out, he had to walk through a phalanx of cameras. He was picked up by a car in front of the courthouse.

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