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Singer Chris Brown pleads not guilty to two felonies

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Photo 03/05/09: Bob Chamberlin/Los Angeles Times

Singer Chris Brown was greeted by a horde of photographers, reporters, and some screaming fans when he arrived in a black SUV at a Los Angeles County criminal courthouse in Downtown L.A. today. Shortly after 3:30 p.m., Brown was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to a couple of felonies; assault likely to cause great bodily harm and making criminal threats. Brown first appeared in court in connection with these charges last month.

The charges stem from a reported violent altercation on a street in the Los Angeles upscale neighborhood of Hancock Park between 19-year-old Brown and his long-time pop star/model girlfriend Rihanna in February. Brown apparently lost it and allegedly brutally beat 21-year-old Rihanna. Details from police reports indicate Rihanna was the victim of a vicious assault. Photos of Rihanna’s battered face confirmed it.

The domestic violence incident resulted in some heavy blows to Brown’s squeaky-clean image from his sponsors, the media, and music fans. Most folks have been sympathetic toward Rihanna. Also, reports that the two entertainers might be getting back together got thumbs down from many due mainly to concerns for Rihanna’s safety.

Today’s arraignment lasted only a few minutes. Rihanna did not attend the hearing. Nevertheless, her attorney Donald Etra told reporters outside the courtroom that the singer is “doing fine” and she will testify if subpoenaed “… and will do everything that the law requires her to do.”

The next court hearing in the case is April 29, 2009. If convicted of the charges, Brown could be sentenced to probation or as much as four years and eight months in prison.

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