LOS ANGELES – Chris Brown has pleaded guilty and publicly apologized for beating Rihanna, but after Wednesday afternoon, plenty more hard work lies ahead.
The 20-year-old R&B singer is scheduled to be sentenced to five years of probation and six months of community labour. A judge has said she wants Brown, who will likely be allowed to serve his probation in his home state of Virginia, to do work that is comparable to graffiti removal or roadside cleanup.
The “Run It!” singer pleaded guilty in late June to felony assault before a preliminary hearing in which Rihanna was likely to testify. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has said Brown’s sentence is in line with what others receive when they are charged with similar crimes and have no prior criminal history. The office does not provide specific information on comparable cases, spokeswoman Jane Robison said Wednesday.
The former couple never faced each other at that hearing. As Brown left through one door, Rihanna entered the courtroom from a private entrance.
Donald Etra, Rihanna’s attorney, said Tuesday that the 21-year-old singer would not appear in court for Brown’s sentencing. Etra said he would ask Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Patricia Schnegg to rescind a restraining order that keeps the pair from talking or meeting one another.
Etra said he would ask that it be replaced by an order that prohibits Brown from harassing, annoying or molesting Rihanna.
Brown said in a public apology video posted on his Web site July 20 that he had repeatedly apologized to Rihanna for the attack. He called his conduct “inexcusable” and pledged to do better.
“I saw firsthand what uncontrolled rage can do,” he tells viewers. “I have sought and am continuing to seek help to ensure that what occurred in February can never happen again.”
Schnegg will consider a report by probation officials and has warned Brown that he will face substantial scrutiny. She told him in June that he’ll have to return to California every three months and attend domestic violence counselling.
That’s assuming Virginia authorities agree to take his case. The state has not yet been contacted about Brown’s case and won’t be until he is sentenced, said Virginia Department of Corrections spokesman Larry Traylor.
He said probation officials would have to look at the conditions requested by California authorities, but that the department does not comment on individual cases for privacy reasons.
Brown was arrested Feb. 8, hours after an early morning fight erupted between the singer and his then-girlfriend in a car in Los Angeles’ Hancock Park neighbourhood. A search warrant affidavit filed by police described the brutal attack, stating that Brown beat, choked and bit Rihanna and tried to push her out of the car.
The beating occurred hours before the pair were scheduled to appear at the Grammy Awards, and both have been forced to cancel several high-profile appearances since then.
Brown’s career has suffered, with radio stations refusing to play his music and sponsors dropping him.