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April trial set for R&B singer Chris Brown’s assault case

Fans, journalists and an aggressive security detail swarm the embattled R&B singer outside D.C. Superior Court in January. (JulieAnn McKellogg/The Washington Post)

A D.C. Superior Court judge set an April 17 trial date Thursday for R&B singer Chris Brown, who faces an assault charge in connection with an October incident outside a District hotel.

During the hearing Thursday, Senior Judge Geoffrey M. Alprin scheduled the trial but noted the date could be changed to accommodate attorney schedules. Attorneys estimated the proceedings could take three days.

Brown was not in court for the brief scheduling hearing. A judge had allowed him to remain in California, where he is in an inpatient treatment facility as a result of his 2009 conviction related to the assault case involving his former girlfriend, pop star Rihanna.

Brown and his bodyguard, Christopher Hollosy, 35, each were charged with one count of misdemeanor simple assault after an altercation in October outside the W Hotel in downtown Washington. Hollosy’s appearance at Thursday’s hearing was also waived.

Accounts of how the altercation started at the hotel, on 15th Street NW, have varied. Authorities say it began after a man sought a photograph with Brown outside a nightclub where the entertainer was hosting a party. Others have stated that the man tried to board Brown’s tour bus. Brown and Hollosy are accused of striking the man.

Brown’s attorney, Danny Onorato, has said that his client is innocent and that Brown’s security was protecting him.

At a January hearing, prosecutors revealed that they offered Brown and Hollosy plea deals to a charge of simple assault. The offers were rejected.

In his court filing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Andrew Chambers objected to Brown’s absence at the Thursday hearing. Chambers said that Brown’s attorneys failed to provide any “unusual circumstance” that supported their request. Chambers also said that additional matters could arise during the hearing that could require the defendants’ presence.

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Keith Alexander covers crime, specifically D.C. Superior Court cases for The Washington Post. He has covered dozens of crime stories from Banita Jacks, the Washington woman charged with killing her four daughters, to the murder trial of slain federal intern Chandra Levy.



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