(CNN) — Although Chris Brown faces just a misdemeanor charge, the singer has a lot riding on Monday’s assault trial in Washington.
He could receive probation in the District of Columbia if found guilty, but a Los Angeles judge is waiting on the verdict before deciding whether Brown, 24, will remain jailed in California.
An acquittal would give Brown’s lawyer a chance to argue that he should be allowed to make his own way back to California for a probation hearing. Otherwise, he’ll have to go back the way he came to Washington — on “Con Air,” the federal inmate transport system.
The singer’s trial is set to start immediately after D.C. Superior Judge Patricia Wynn announces her verdict in last week’s trial of Brown’s bodyguard, Christopher Hollosy, on the same charge. Wynn will also decide Brown’s case.
Hollosy’s case was tried first so that he could freely testify in his boss’s defense about the sidewalk fight that landed them both in jail last October. He’s expected to say that he landed the punch that broke Parker Adams’ nose and that he did it because it was his job to protect Brown.
Hollosy’s lawyer Bernard Grimm argued in the bodyguard’s trial that Adams, 20, was “simply trying to get rich” by accusing Brown and Hollosy of assaulting him.
Howard University student Jalen Garrison testified in the Hollosy trial that she and a friend were posing for photos on the sidewalk with Brown when Adams, who is her boyfriend, tried to snap his own photo with Brown.
Brown got upset, telling Adams, “I don’t like that gay s***,” Garrison testified. Brown lunged at Adams, hitting him the face, she testified.
A limousine driver testified that he witnessed Brown and Hollosy hit Adams. The bodyguard pulled Brown away before throwing his own punch, he said. Adams did not hit back, he said.
Adams, when asked to rate the power of Brown’s punch on a scale of one to 10, scored it a six. Hollosy, he testified, packed a 10.
Adams, who said he earns about $200 a day working at a restaurant, acknowledged that he’s suing Brown, potentially seeking millions of dollars for the assault. The lawsuit was filed “because family knew a lawyer in church and that justice should be served,” he testified.
Brown’s mother and aunts, who live in Virginia, along with his girlfriend Karrueche Tran and rapper Bow Wow were in court Friday expecting Brown’s trial to start. Wynn delayed it, however, saying she needed more time than expected to decide Hollosy’s case.
Brown’s legal troubles began five years ago when he beat Rihanna as the two were in a rented Lamborghini on a Hollywood street. He pleaded guilty to felony assault in June 2009, which resulted in a sentence of five years of probation and 1,400 hours of community “labor-oriented service.”
Brown voluntarily entered a rehab program a day after being released from a Washington jail in October, but he was kicked out a few days later for “throwing a rock through his mother’s car window” after a family session at the center, a probation report said. Brown was upset because his mother said she wanted him to stay in treatment, the report said.
Brown proceeded “to walk outside and pick up a rock and threw it through his mother’s car window and it shattered,” according to a letter from the rehab center included in the probation report.
His probation was revoked in November, but the judge allowed him to stay out of jail by entering a 90-day anger management and drug rehab program. Although he completed that program last month, the judge ordered him to remain a resident at the Malibu, California, treatment facility until another hearing April 23.
Brown’s probation officer reported at a February hearing that the singer “continues to make great improvement” in dealing with anger, stress and drugs, but the judge decided he could not go free until after his trial for an assault charge in Washington on April 17. If he is convicted in that case, the judge would decide at an April 23 hearing whether Brown should complete his probation in jail.
He was sent to jail on March 14 after he was kicked out of the second rehab program for rules violations.
The judge said he was concerned about a “provocative” statement counselors said Brown wrote on a card at the Malibu rehab center. “I am good at using guns and knives,” according to a document read in court.
The rehab program told Brown to leave because of that statement and two other rules violations, the document said. Brown refused a drug test — which his lawyer denied — and he touched elbows with a female patient, according to the document.
Brown had been working on a highway cleanup labor crew in Los Angeles three days a week to fulfill the 750 hours of service remaining in his probation requirements, his probation report said. At that rate, Brown could complete the labor in mid-October and possibly be free from probation requirements by the end of the year. With his community labor work now on hold, his probation is expected to extend into 2015.
By Alan Duke, CNN
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