Chris Brown has pleaded guilty to one count of felony assault on former girlfriend Rihanna, as a part of a plea deal to keep himself out of jail.
The 20-year-old singer entered his plea before a preliminary hearing was scheduled to start in Los Angeles on Monday (June 22). For his guilty plea, Brown will serve five years of probation and must serve about 1,400 hours of “labor-oriented service” to avoid jail time, Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, told CNN.com.
He must also undergo a year-long domestic-violence counseling class, and will have to check in with a probation officer every three months.
Rihanna had been on standby to testify on Monday, but it was not necessary after the plea deal was agreed upon, saving both Rihanna and Brown from publicly speaking on the incident.
Brown had previously entered a not guilty plea to felony counts of assault and making criminal threats, in connection with an alleged attack on Rihanna during an domestic altercation in February while together in Los Angeles for the Grammys.
However, under the plea deal, he pleaded guilty to one count of assault with the intent of doing great bodily injury.
Although Rihanna’s testimony was not needed, she made a brief appearance at the hearing — after Brown had left the courtroom — to hear Judge Patricia Schnegg discuss the issuance of a “stay away” order, requiring Brown to stay 100 yards from her.
Through her attorney, Donald Etra, Rihanna requested that such an order not be issued, said reports. Schnegg refused that request, saying she would revise the order to 50 yards — 10 yards if the two are at the same “industry event” together.
Schnegg told Rihanna that she would consider lifting the order after Brown completes his domestic violence counseling, but advised Rihanna not to contact Brown. Asked whether she understood, Rihanna said she did before leaving the courtroom via a back door.
After the hearing, Brown’s attorney, Mark Geragos, said Brown, “wanted to take responsibility” and added that he is thankful to those offering support, but explained that he is “a kid who’s never been in trouble before” who wants to “move past this” and get out the message that domestic violence is not acceptable.
Geragos said that Brown plans to speak further after his sentencing.