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Chris Brown pleads guilty to assault

June 22, 2009 7:24:58 AM PDT
Chris Brown has pleaded guilty to one count of felony assault on singer Rihanna.Brown entered his plea before a preliminary hearing was scheduled to begin in a Los Angeles courtroom on Monday.

Brown has been ordered to 180 days of community service, which he can do in his home state of Virginia, and has to travel to California every three months for abuse counseling. The deal also includes five years of felony probation.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Patricia Schnegg signed a stay-away order, which Rihanna had not been seeking. The order requires that Brown and Rihanna stay at least 50 yards from each, except at industry events when the distance is reduced to 10 yards.

The 20-year-old singer was accused of beating his former girlfriend Rihanna in February while driving home from a pre-Grammys party. He was charged with two felonies, assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury, and criminal threats.

After Brown left the courtroom, Rihanna entered and was addressed by Schnegg, who explained the stay-away order and told the pop star it's not a one-way order. The order puts the kibosh on any prospects for reconciliation with his former girlfriend.

Rihanna spoke briefly telling the judge she agreed to the terms of the plea agreement, including the stay-away order.

"She was fully prepared to testify and she would have told the truth about what happened that evening," said Donald Etra, Rihanna's attorney.

Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the L.A. County district attorney's office, said the plea terms were in line with what others receive when they are charged with similar crimes and have no prior criminal history.

"The sentence is not an easy sentence, we're talking about a five-year probationary period. That's a long time," said Gibbons. "That means that he's going to have to be supervised by a probation officer for five years.

A photo of obtained by TMZ.com was released to the public, showing the injuries Rihanna is alleged to have suffered at the hands of Brown.

According to court documents, Brown received several text messages from a former love interest. When Rihanna questioned him in the car about it, Brown allegedly became enraged and began beating her while he drove.

Brown allegedly pulled the car over in Hancock Park and continued beating her, biting her fingers and ear.

The case spurred a flurry of bad press for Brown, and the trial could seriously damage his image.

"I don't think we know what'll happen to Chris Brown's career, but his image will change forever," said Jeanne Wolf, West Coast editor of Parade Magazine.

"Chris was known as, you know, the good guy, a good boy, and he'll never, for better or for worse, have that image again," she said.

Despite what the court finds, Wolf said the last word will rest with consumers.

Brown will be back in court for sentencing on August 5.

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