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R&B singer Chris Brown rejects plea deal

R&B singer Chris Brown has woven quite the legal web since he allegedly punched a fan outside a posh D.C. hotel last October. As he returns to court for his misdemeanor assault charges Wednesday, the Reliable Source takes a look at all his recent run-ins with the law. (JulieAnn McKellogg/The Washington Post)

After two days of negotiations between D.C. prosecutors and defense attorneys, lawyers for Chris Brown Wednesday rejected a plea deal in the R&B singer’s misdemeanor assault case, an agreement that would have meant no jail time or probation for the performer.

During a 15-minute hearing in D.C. Superior Court, Brown, 25, rejected the agreement in which he would have pleaded guilty to assault for allegedly punching a photograph-seeking fan outside the W Hotel in downtown Washington.

According to a person familiar with the plea discussions, Brown had agreed to the plea deal earlier in the week. But about two hours before the hearing, his attorneys notified prosecutors that they were rejecting the offer.

“If they want a trial, that’s what they’re going to get,” said Mark J. Geragos, Brown’s attorney, during a press conference outside of the courthouse.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Chambers said although the deal called for no jail time, Brown would have had to agree to the details of the assault outlined by prosecutors. Prosecutors alleged the Grammy award winner, along with his friend and bodyguard, Christopher Hollosy, 35, struck Parker Adams, 25, of Beltsville, after Adams tried to take a picture of himself with the entertainer.

Following a two-day trial in April in which Adams and two other witnesses testified that both Brown and Hollosy struck him, Hollosy was found guilty. Brown was scheduled to go on trial later that month, but the trial was delayed. The men are still subject to a $1.5 million civil lawsuit filed by Adams.

Geragos said his client rejected the plea deal because he did not agree with details of the assault as outlined by the prosecutors. Brown’s attorneys have long argued that Brown and his bodyguard acted in self defense. Brown’s next court appearance has been scheduled for Sept. 8.

As he has done repeatedly, Geragos questioned why prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office continued to press forward with the case continued to spend “hundreds of thousands of dollars” on the case.

Bill Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office said his office doesn’t keep stats on costs of cases and called Geragos’s cost claims “laughable.” Miller said the prosecutors in his office were “prosecuting this case like we prosecute all misdemeanors. This is no different.”

It’s the second time Brown rejected a plea deal from the prosecutors. In January, prosecutors also offered Brown a deal, which he rejected and agreed instead to go to trial. Brown’s trial has now been delayed several times.

In addition, attorneys for Brown and Hollosy said that new information has emerged that could help their cases. And while the attorneys didn’t elaborate, Judge Patricia Wynn agreed to delay Hollosy’s sentencing until Nov. 7. They also requested a new trial, which prosecutors objected to and Wynn said she would consider.

Security at the courthouse was heightened with dozens of U.S. marshals and court security officers stationed in the lobby of the courthouse and inside and outside of the judge’s courtroom.

Nearly 90 minutes before the hearing was scheduled to begin, Brown’s fans formed outside the courtroom. “I just hope they give him a plea deal so he can move on with his life,” said Tiona Hordge, 17, of Southeast Washington. Hordge and her two teenage friends with her, carried hand-made signs that read “Team Breezy” referring to Brown’s nickname, and another sign that says “Good Luck Christopher.” Court security did not allow the signs inside the courtroom.

The last time Brown visited the D.C. courthouse in April, he arrived on a prison bus, dressed in an orange jumpsuit and wearing ankle and wrist shackles and entered from the courthouse garage along with other jailed defendants. At that time, Brown had been jailed by a California judge who in March ruled Brown had violated the terms of his probation from his 2009 assault case on former girlfriend, pop singer, Rihanna.

Prosecutors had Brown extradited to Washington in a five-day, prison flight and bus trip to the East Coast. Brown was ordered release from jail on June 2, after four months in jail as a result in part for being arrested in the October assault.

Unlike his April hearing, Brown arrived to court wearing white blue jeans, collared shirt, a black tie and black sneakers, arrived in a chauffeured driven SUV, smiled and waived at about a down screaming fans, outside the courthouse. Brown, his mother, aunt, Hollosy and the attorneys arrived and entered through the front entrance, but were directed to a separate security line, away from other courthouse visitors who were waiting in line that stretched outside onto the plaza.

Ileana Najarro contributed to this report.

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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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