Chris Brown loses effort to toss D.C. assault charge

Posted at 2:52 PM, Apr 07, 2014
and last updated 2014-04-07 14:53:06-04

(CNN) — Chris Brown’s lawyer failed to convince a judge that his assault charge in Washington should be dropped because of prosecutors’ misconduct.

Judge Patricia Wynn rejected the argument by Mark Geragos that the U.S. attorneys abused the grand jury process in preparations for Brown’s April 17 trial.

Chris Brown appears in court on Monday, March 17, 2014, after being locked up in jail on a probation violation warrant the previous Friday.

Chris Brown appears in court on Monday, March 17, 2014, after being locked up in jail on a probation violation warrant the previous Friday.

The singer and his bodyguard, Christopher Hollosy, are charged with hitting a man on a sidewalk just blocks from the White House in October.

Although the charge is just a misdemeanor and is unlikely to carry jail time for Brown if he is convicted, the arrest has put him behind bars because of his probation for an attack on ex-girlfriend Rihanna five years ago.

Brown, 24, did not attend a hearing Monday in a D.C. courtroom; he is still on his way from Los Angeles to the nation’s capital through the Justice Department’s “Con Air” prison transport system: a cross-country journey the U.S. Marshal’s office said could take one or two weeks.

He was ordered to jail after he was booted from a court-ordered rehab program last month, complicating his travel arrangements for the assault trial. A Los Angeles judge refused to release him to make the trip on his own since his California probation had been revoked as a result of his arrest in Washington.

U.S. Marshals picked Brown up from the Los Angeles County Jail on Wednesday for the start of the trip to Washington. Con Air — the nickname for the federal government’s Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System — involves heavily guarded passenger planes that hopscotch the country, picking up and dropping off prisoners.

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.”

The judge has revoked Brown’s probation twice in the past year, most recently because of his D.C. arrest.

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 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 that 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.

CNN’s Carolyn Sung contributed to this report.