Chris Brown Pleads Not Guilty

Singer is due back in court April 29 to face two felony charges; Rihanna didn't attend the hearing.

An expressionless [artist id="1961441"]Chris Brown[/artist] arrived to an L.A. County criminal courthouse Monday afternoon (April 6) and pleaded not guilty to two felony charges of assault and making criminal threats stemming from his alleged altercation with girlfriend Rihanna on the eve of this year's Grammy Awards.

The singer arrived 25 minutes late for his scheduled 3 p.m. PT court appointment. Brown was wearing all black and showed no emotion as he entered the courthouse to a mix of fans cheering and protesters demonstrating against domestic abuse. A police escort ushered Brown into the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Center promptly after he exited his black SUV. Brown, 19, was also accompanied by four bodyguards and his mother, Joyce Hawkins. Hawkins was seated in the front row during her son's hearing and her eyes appeared to be red, perhaps from crying.

Brown was in court for less than 15 minutes as he quickly entered his plea and left the courtroom. The singer and his lawyer didn't answer any questions afterward. The only words the singer uttered was a hushed "not guilty, your honor," after Judge Patricia Schnegg read the charges against him.

Mark Geragos, who is representing Brown in the case, said in court that more discovery is needed. The lawyer is seeking a plea deal and the negotiations have been characterized as "serious," according to a report this past weekend from TMZ. A number of unrelated reports have stated that the parties might be close to reaching a deal.

An attorney representing [artist id="1940303"]Rihanna[/artist], Donald Etra, spoke with reporters immediately afterward, only offering limited answers regarding his client. Etra confirmed that Rihanna is in her native Barbados and was not present at the courthouse because she was not required to attend the hearing. Rihanna, 21, is doing fine and is willing to testify in the case if subpoenaed, Etra said.

The legal counsel also said Rihanna is interested in the case being processed as soon as possible. Etra would not say whether Rihanna had been in contact with Brown leading up to his court appearance. Etra would only say the Def Jam singer is leaving the proceedings up to the court.

When asked directly if Rihanna thinks Brown is innocent or guilty, Etra said, "Her position on the case is to leave the matters of guilt or innocence to the judge and or defense counsel."

Brown is set to return to court April 29 in Los Angeles.

[This story was originally published at 7:13 pm E.T. on 4.06.09]