LOS ANGELES — [artist id="1961441"]Chris Brown[/artist] entered the 13th-floor courtroom quietly on Monday (June 22) for the preliminary hearing in his assault case. Wearing a gray suit and diamond earrings, Brown was followed closely by his lawyer. As the jurors settled in, Brown spoke quietly with his counsel, nervously blinking his eyes and biting his lower lip.
A hush remained over the brown, wood-paneled courtroom as eight law officers hovered around the singer and tried to cram observers into the seats. A tissue box was positioned at the witness stand.
Moments before Judge Patricia M. Schnegg entered the courtroom, where MTV News watched the proceedings, a buzz began circulating that [artist id="1940303"]Rihanna[/artist] wasn't here, seemingly indicating an impending plea deal.
"Good morning, everyone, or should I say good afternoon?" the judge began. "Do we have a deal?"
Brown's lawyer stood up immediately and stated the conditions of the plea deal.
"Earlier today, we had a very brief discussion in chambers," the judge explained, saying she was surprised to learn that Brown does not live in California, and that his principle address is in Virginia. "This will be a felony, will be supervised probation.
"I will allow Mr. Brown to do his 180 days of service in Virginia," she explained, insisting that it should be a tougher service, not "church."
Brown sat in silence while his lawyer and the judge went back and forth.
"California law requires that he comes back every three months to show progress," Schnegg said of Brown's domestic battery. "Is that what you want to do, Mr. Brown?"
"Yes," Brown said, also stating his full name and date of birth.
Asked if he wanted to enter a guilty plea, Chris Brown said, "Yes, ma'am." He repeated the phrase multiple times as he was told that he had the right to a trial, the right to remain silent, et cetera. Brown stood with his hands behind his back, very respectful and somber.
Asked if he agreed to plead guilty instead of facing four years in prison if convicted, Brown said, "Yes, ma'am."
The judge said that since Brown hadn't begun any of his domestic-battery classes yet, he needed to stay at least 50 yards away from Rihanna. Taking into account that they both often frequent "industry events," the judge said it would become 10 yards in those instances.
Brown was ordered to return to court August 5 for formal sentencing. The judge commended Brown for his behavior, and then asked him to leave so Rihanna could be brought in. Bowing his head, Brown kept his hands behind his back and silently left the courtroom.
Seconds after Brown was escorted out of the courtroom, Rihanna was ushered in through a side door. Schnegg briefed Rihanna and her lawyer on the plea deal reached just moments prior. Wearing a black dress, Rihanna stood in silence while the judge explained the "stay away" order issued to Rihanna's former boyfriend, as terms for his guilty plea to domestic battery.
"Thank you, your honor," Rihanna said and was then whisked out of the courtroom as quickly as she had entered.
Brown and Rihanna entered and left the courtroom through different doors and never saw each other inside the courtroom.