The Washington Post

Lawyers soon will argue in court about motions in Chris Brown’s D.C. assault case

D.C. prosecutors and defense attorneys are set to appear in court Monday to argue about evidence in the assault case against R&B singer Chris Brown. Although authorities flew the Grammy-winning singer to the District last week, he’s not expected to be at the hearing.

A D.C. Superior Court judge had decided that Brown — who is accused of striking a fan — need not be in court for the hearing, which could provide a preview of the evidence prosecutors intend to present at his April 17 trial.

Brown, 24, and his bodyguard, Christopher Hollosy, 35, each were 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.

When the trial begins nearly two weeks from now, fans of the singer won’t be able to get a glimpse of him entering or exiting the courthouse, as they did during his earlier court appearances.

Brown is in the custody of U.S. marshals after he was extradited from Los Angeles to Washington last week. He is being housed in a Washington-area holding cell, according to a U.S. Marshals Service spokesman. For his trial, Brown will be brought to the courthouse in a prisoner bus and escorted into the courtroom through the courthouse’s cellblock. It’s the same way other jailed defendants enter the courthouse for their cases.

Before his extradition, Brown had been in a Los Angeles-area jail after a California judge last month ordered him locked up for allegedly making threats about using guns while in an anger-management rehabilitation center. 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.

An attorney for the Beltsville man at the center of the altercation (who has filed a $3 million lawsuit) said his client suffered a broken nose and other facial injuries.

Monday’s motions hearing in the misdemeanor case is unusual, legal experts say. Traditionally in misdemeanor cases, such questions are discussed the same day of the trial, just hours prior to opening arguments.

But the Brown case has been far from usual. Last month, prosecutors alleged that Brown’s attorneys were trying to pick which of the court’s senior judges would hear the case. Brown’s attorneys denied the allegation.

Then days later, Brown’s attorneys filed a motion saying the case should be dismissed because prosecutors, they argued, shouldn’t have had witnesses testify before a grand jury in a misdemeanor case. Prosecutors said their actions were appropriate.

Earlier, prosecutors filed a motion arguing that Brown’s attorneys should not be able to argue that Brown was acting in self-defense or that at the time of the altercation, he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder.

These motions are expected to be among the ones discussed at Monday’s hearing.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Betty Ballester, head of the D.C. Superior Court Trial Lawyers Association, who is not affiliated with the case. “I guess it is Hollywood.”

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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