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Bobby Brown to stand trial for hitting Houston

He was charged with misdemeanor battery for allegedly striking his wife.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Bobby Brown was ordered Wednesday to stand trial on charges that he hit superstar wife Whitney Houston.

The R&B singer is charged with misdemeanor battery for allegedly striking Houston in the face at their home near Alpharetta in December, leaving her with a bruised cheek and a cut inside her lip.

Judge Barry Zimmerman ruled there was enough evidence to continue with the case. Brown was ordered to turn himself over to authorities on July 10 or July 11 for fingerprinting, when he would be released on $2,000 bond.

The judge warned Brown not to have “violent contact” with Houston.

Brown and Houston exchanged smiles during the brief hearing, and left the courtroom arm-in-arm. They made no comment to reporters waiting outside.

Brown’s lawyer, Maurice Bennett, said the judge’s decision had been expected.

Simple battery is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. The charge is usually dismissed on a first offense in a domestic violence case if the defendant undergoes counseling.

No date was set for the case to be heard in state court. “It could be as much as a year down the road,” said senior court clerk Lanny Lipsky.

Houston called police Dec. 7 to report that Brown threatened to beat her “and then struck the left side of her face with an open right hand,” a Fulton County police report said.

In a recent interview on the TV program “Dateline NBC,” the 35-year-old singer described the incident as a “little spat.” He said the two were playfully “slap boxing” and Houston took one of his jabs a “little serious.”

“I got big hands, man. I would hurt her, you know? It would be more than just a little cut on the lip,” Brown said.

Houston’s publicist in Los Angeles, Nancy Seltzer, didn’t return messages left by The Associated Press.

Brown and Houston, 40, have been married since 1992 and have a 10-year-old daughter, Bobbi Kristina.

He left R&B group New Edition in the late 1980s for a solo career. His hits include “My Prerogative” and “Every Little Step,” but he has become more famous for his numerous brushes with the law and his turbulent marriage with Houston.

In February, Brown spent a month in jail for multiple probation violations before being released a month early for a hearing in a paternity lawsuit in Massachusetts. He spent a night in jail before paying more than $60,000 in back child support for two of his children.