Chris Brown's freedom at stake with two cases

By Alan Duke CNN | 4/21/2014, 5:04 p.m.
The legal troubles threatening to send Chris Brown to prison for several years began with the singer's arrest five years ...
Chris Brown appears in court on Monday, March 17, 2014, after being locked up in jail on a probation violation warrant the previous Friday. POOL photo.

LOS ANGELES - The legal troubles threatening to send Chris Brown to prison for several years began with the singer's arrest five years ago in the brutal attack on then-girlfriend Rihanna.

Brown has spent almost all of the past six months either in rehab or jail. He's been locked up since he was booted from a court-ordered substance abuse and anger management program on March 14.

Brown has two pending criminal cases, both stemming from his alleged inability to control his anger.

Brown's D.C. assault case

Brown, 24, allegedly punched Parker Adams after a quick exchange of words on a sidewalk blocks from the White House last October. He was arrested on a felony assault charge, but it was reduced to a misdemeanor and he was released on bond the next day. The trial is set to begin Wednesday in D.C. Superior Court.

The judge who will decide the case has already heard most of the evidence, because she also presided over the trial of Brown's bodyguard, Christopher Hollosy. When she announced her guilty verdict for Hollosy, Judge Patricia Wynn said she believed the testimony of a limousine driver who said he saw Brown hit Adams and that Adams did not fight back.

Brown's defense has been complicated by Hollosy's conviction, because his testimony could hurt his appeal. Prosecutors are considering whether they will grant immunity to Hollosy for anything he says in Brown's trial. Brown's lawyer, Mark Geragos, says the bodyguard's testimony is crucial to his defense.

Hollosy did not take the stand in his own trial, but his lawyer indicated he would say that he hit Adams because he was trying to get on Brown's bus, and it was his job to protect his client.

California probation revoked

A conviction in the Washington case would be trouble for Brown because of his probation for the felony assault conviction in Los Angeles. The judge overseeing that case has already ruled that the singer violated his probation by being arrested last October, but he is waiting until after the D.C. trial to decide whether the revocation will become final. The revocation decision will be made at a hearing after Brown returns to Los Angeles from Washington.

If convicted in Washington, Brown faces another grueling "Con Air" trip. The U.S. Marshal's Service is committed to returning him to the Los Angeles jail through the U.S. Justice Department's notoriously slow and uncomfortable prisoner transport system.

If Brown is acquitted in the Washington case, his lawyer will argue that he should be immediately released from jail and allowed to resume his probation. Even then, Brown must work at least three days a week on a road clean-up crew to complete more than 700 hours of community labor remaining on his sentence in the Rihanna assault.

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