The initial plan, outlined by the attorneys for R&B singer Chris Brown and his bodyguard was for the two men, both charged with misdemeanor assault, to have separate trials.
The reason: The bodyguard, Christopher Hollosy, was going to testify on behalf of Brown and say that he and not Brown struck a 20-year-old Beltsville, Md., man in the face on Oct. 27 in front of the W Hotel.
The attorneys had hoped Hollosy would be acquitted and then take the stand on behalf of his boss, the 24-year-old Grammy-winning singer, and tell the judge that it was he who struck the picture-seeking fan, not Brown.
But now that plan has fallen apart. Hollosy, 35, was found guilty Monday by a Superior Court judge following a two-day trial. He hasn’t retuned to court, deciding not to testify for his employer at the risk of self-incrimination — which would affect his effort to appeal his conviction. Prosecutors said they would not grant Hollosy immunity in exchange for his testimony.
And Brown’s trial, scheduled for Wednesday morning, has been continued, leaving the trouble singer’s future in doubt. Attorneys successfully argued that without Hollosy, the trial should be delayed. The trial is now scheduled for June 25. That’s the same day Hollosy is scheduled to be sentenced, although it is unlikely that it will begin then because Hollosy’s appeal’s process will likely not have not finished. The bodyguard faces up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Brown’s attorneys are holding out hope that Hollosy will still testify. “We need Mr. Hollosy,” attorney Mark J. Geragos said outside the courthouse following Wednesday’s proceedings. Generally, continuances are good for the defense because they have more time to prepare and witnesses sometimes decide not to testify.
Brown’s attorneys argued that only one punch was thrown and that the punch was by Hollosy, not Brown. But during Hollosy’s trial, three witnesses, including the victim, Parker Adams, identified Brown as the initial attacker.
Meanwhile, Brown was scheduled Wednesday to appear before a California judge who would decide whether to order Brown released from custody. In March, the judge ordered the singer locked up for allegedly making threats about using guns while in an anger-management rehabilitation center last month. He had been ordered to the in-patient 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 an upcoming hearing, at which point the judge would decide to order his release.
Brown’s attorneys argued Wednesday that the singer should be allowed to return to California for that hearing, which would now be delayed. Senior Judge Franklin A. Burgess Jr., who was overseeing the Brown trial, granted the request.
But Brown could face some trouble with the California judge. When Senior Judge Patricia A. Wynn found Hollosy guilty of assault, in her comments, she said the evidence showed that both Brown and Hollosy hit the victim and that at least with Hollosy, it wasn’t self-defense, as Hollosy’s attorney argued.
While Wynn’s comments were not a ruling on behalf of Brown, the California judge could determine Brown was in violation of his probation in the Rihanna case when he struck Adams. Adams has filed a $3 million lawsuit against Brown and Hollosy.
Geragos said he was did not believe Wynn’s comments would affect his client’s release because they were not part of his client’s case and therefore couldn’t be challenged by his attorneys. Following Wednesday’s proceedings, Geragos seemed more outraged by the entire case than by his client’s next court appearance in California.
“This is the single most investigated, prosecuted and expensive misdemeanor case ever,” Geragos said referring to the victim’s injury as a simple “bloody nose.”
“All much ado about nothing,” said Geragos, who has represented such other high-profile clients as Michael Jackson, actress Winona Ryder and former U.S. representative Gary A. Condit, (D-Calif.) in the Chandra Levy case.
If Brown is convicted during his trial, Geragos said Brown would face up to another four years in jail in California for committing a crime while on probation.