Chris Brown briefly appeared in court Thursday, hours after he was charged with two felonies stemming from what a police detective describes as a brutal argument between the singer and his girlfriend, Rihanna.
Brown’s arraignment was postponed until April 6 on charges of assault likely to cause great bodily injury and making criminal threats. The 19-year-old R&B singer remains free on $50,000 bail.
A court commissioner ordered him not to harass, threaten or harm anyone. At the request of Donald Etra, an attorney representing Rihanna, the commissioner did not order Brown to stay away from her.
Brown, wearing a three-piece gray pinstripe suit with gray tie and cream shirt, clasped his hands behind his back as he walked into the courtroom. He answered a few questions from the commissioner as his mother watched from the front row along with a group of family members.
Details released Thursday offer a starkly different portrait of Brown than the squeaky-clean image he has cultivated. The young man once praised for his Michael Jackson-esque dance moves is described in a detective’s affidavit as punching his girlfriend, biting her ear and trying to choke her until she nearly lost consciousness.
He rose to fame after the 2005 hit “Run It!” and his popularity has only grown. He was nominated for a Grammy for “No Air” with Jordin Sparks and named Billboard’s top artist in 2008.
His arrest prompted an exodus of sponsors and a retreat into secrecy for both Brown and Rihanna. The couple were among the marquee names scheduled to appear and perform at the Grammys Feb. 8, but the alleged attack forced both to cancel their appearances.
The courtroom was filled Thursday with onlookers and media for Brown’s brief appearance. He and his attorney did not speak to reporters after the hearing.
The felony complaint handed down in court Thursday morning identifies Brown’s alleged victim only as “Robyn F.” (Rihanna’s real name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty.) The “Disturbia” singer’s attorney, Etra, also identified her as Brown’s alleged victim.
Etra declined to say whether Rihanna would testify against Brown, or whether the couple had reunited. “I’m not here to discuss the relationship,” he said.
If convicted, Brown’s possible sentence ranges anywhere from probation to four years and eight months in state prison, said district attorney’s spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons.
A detailed account of the beating has revealed brutal details of the Feb. 8 fight.
According to a detective’s affidavit, Brown and Rihanna got into a fight after the “Umbrella” singer checked her boyfriend’s cell phone and found a three-page text message from another woman.
The affidavit was filed as part of a search warrant request for the phone records of Brown, Rihanna and her assistant.
While beating Rihanna, Brown allegedly told her "I'm going to beat the s--- out of you when we get home, you wait and see."
Brown allegedly threatened to kill Rihanna after she either left or pretended to leave a phone message with her assistant, telling her to have the police waiting at her house.
He reportedly then said, "You just did the stupidest thing ever. I'm going to kill you."
Brown was arrested hours later and booked on suspicion of making criminal threats. Police said at the time a woman identified Brown as her attacker during an early morning dispute in an upscale Los Angeles neighborhood.
A phone message left for Brown’s attorney, Mark Geragos, was not immediately returned Thursday. Brown’s publicist Tony Knight said any statement would likely come from Geragos after today’s hearing.
Rihanna’s spokesperson had no comment on the charges filed against Brown.
Brown issued a statement a week after the incident saying that he was “sorry and saddened” about the incident. Rihanna also later issued a statement, saying she wouldn’t comment on the alleged beating at the request of authorities. She thanked fans for their support.
Brown’s arrest has been a dent in the young singer’s squeaky-clean image, and compelled sponsors to drop him or not renew his deals.
The alleged attack also came hours before the couple were scheduled to appear and perform at the Grammy Awards. Both were no-shows for the event.