(20 Mar 2015) FOR CLEAN VERSION SEE STORY NUMBER: 2051673
JUDGE ENDS CHRIS BROWN’S COURT SAGA OVER RIHANNA ATTACK
Chris Brown has finally put his 2009 attack on Rihanna behind him, at least legally.
Superior Court Judge James R. Brandlin ended Brown’s felony probation on Friday, more than six years after the R&B singer brutally attacked his then-girlfriend hours before the Grammy Awards.
The attack erased Brown’s squeaky clean image, which he has failed to regain in the ensuing years after incidents such as throwing a chair through a window after a contentious “Good Morning America” interview and a parking lot brawl with singer Frank Ocean. Brown’s career has partially rebounded, with the singer performing at the 2012 Grammy Awards and winning a trophy for best R&B album.
Brandlin’s decision marks the first time since mid-2009 that Brown will not be under the supervision of court or probation officials. The singer initially avoided problems with the case, but since 2013 has struggled to complete his community service obligations and had his probation revoked in January after he performed a show in Northern California without permission.
Brown and his attorney Mark Geragos hugged in the courtroom and again in a courthouse elevator. After the hearing, he tweeted, “IM OFF PROBATION!!!!!!!! Thank the Lord!!!!!!”
The case forced Brown, 25, to confront some deep personal issues: he says he witnessed domestic violence as a child and while in rehab, he was diagnosed as bipolar, a condition exacerbated by his frequent marijuana use.
The singer has alternated between appearing contrite and polite in court to defiant and angry on social media and in public appearances. Although he maintains a sizable and supportive fan base, known as team breezy, the case has stunted his career.
“I couldn’t be more delighted,” Geragos said after the hearing “He is in a spot right now and a place right now that I couldn’t be prouder of him,” Geragos said of Brown. He said Friday’s hearing was “a monumental feat for him.”
Problems began in 2013 after prosecutors questioned whether he had complied with the terms of his community labor sentence and Brandlin briefly revoked his probation in a hit-and-run case filed against the singer over a fender bender.
Brown was 19 years old when he attacked Rihanna in a rented sports car after leaving a pre-Grammy Awards party. Brown fled the scene but turned himself in to police hours later and was subsequently charged with felony assault.
Brown pleaded guilty to felony assault in June 2009 and was ordered to stay away from Rihanna, although the order was later lifted and the pair rekindled their romance. They’ve since broken up.
As part of his sentence, Brown was required to undergo domestic violence counseling. Brandlin also ordered Brown into rehab, which resulted in the singer being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and complications from substance abuse.
Find out more about AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/HowWeWork
You can license this story through AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/metadata/youtube/5fbd903e012a7ef11970751f7598302b