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Chris Brown's attorney calls community service probe 'fraudulent'

Attorney Mark Geragos says there are countless examples of officials in Virginia witnessing singer Chris Brown carrying out his court-ordered manual labor.

February 07, 2013|By Andrew Blankstein, Jack Leonard and Kate Mather, Los Angeles Times
  • Singer Chris Brown appears in court in downtown Los Angeles after prosecutors allege he hasn't completed his community service for the 2009 beating of his girlfriend Rihanna.
Singer Chris Brown appears in court in downtown Los Angeles after prosecutors… (David McNew / Pool Photo )

Singer Chris Brown's lawyer fired back Wednesday at the Los Angeles County district attorney's office, accusing prosecutors of conducting their own "fraudulent" investigation into allegations that the entertainer had failed to fulfill his community service on a 2009 assault conviction involving Rihanna.

Attorney Mark Geragos said there were countless examples of officials in Virginia witnessing Brown carrying out his court-ordered manual labor, which he said included shredding documents at the Richmond Police Department and cleaning the agency's stables.

He angrily disputed the district attorney's allegation that there were discrepancies between a report prepared by Richmond police about the number of hours Brown had served and the R&B singer's actual schedule. Geragos cited an email Richmond police sent the district attorney's office late Tuesday in which the department's general counsel accused Los Angeles prosecutors of including false statements in a court motion that questioned how much labor Brown completed.

"Exactly what the D.A. claimed is absolutely false — and I don't mean false, I mean fraudulent," Geragos said at a news conference after Brown appeared in court Wednesday in downtown L.A. "This motion, frankly, was a travesty."

District attorney's officials declined to comment.

Brown wore a dark gray jacket and a skinny tie during his brief appearance before Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James Brandlin. Rihanna accompanied him to court and sat in the second row with other Brown supporters.

The judge ordered Brown to report to his probation officer within 48 hours and provide any documentation related to his community service. He also asked the county's probation department to report back to the court about how much labor Brown had done, and scheduled another hearing for April 5.

Brown is serving five years' probation after pleading guilty to a felony count of assault in connection with a 2009 attack on girlfriend Rihanna. As part of his probation, Brown was required to perform 180 days of community labor in Virginia.

The motion filed Tuesday by Deputy Dist. Atty. Mary A. Murray said an investigation into Brown's community service found "significant discrepancies indicating at best sloppy documentation and at worst fraudulent reporting," and asked a judge to order Brown to carry out his court-ordered labor in Los Angeles County instead of in Virginia, where he lives.

The filing outlined a series of inconsistencies with a report prepared by Richmond police, and alleged Brown was not in the city — or even the country — during times he reportedly was picking up trash. Among the instances cited in the motion was that Brown said he completed four hours of trash pickup between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on a day when he was actually on a private plane to Cancun, which he boarded at 4 p.m.

Geragos, however, said his client completed the labor by 2 p.m. and was still able to make his flight.

In another incident, the district attorney's office said Brown reported he was picking up trash in a Richmond alley while he was actually hosting a charity event about 100 miles away in Washington, D.C. In his motion filed Wednesday, Geragos contended that the district attorney's office made the accusation without knowing when Brown was in the nation's capital and when he got back to Richmond, though the lawyer did not detail when Brown carried out the labor.

Geragos' motion did not address prosecutors' concerns that they had been unable to find any evidence that Brown completed more than 500 hours of community labor at Tappahannock Children's Center, where his mother had once served as director and where he spent time as a child. The center is an hour's drive from Richmond and rarely visited by police, according to Murray's motion.

Part of the singer's labor reportedly included waxing floors at the center. But a longtime janitor at the facility told investigators that he had maintained all of the floors for eight years and was unaware of anyone else doing so, prosecutors said.

Geragos told reporters he would file additional materials with the court to show that Brown had completed his service, and he accused prosecutors of relying on "supposed statements from somebody who is supposed to be waxing the floor."

"What we have uncovered so far in a very short amount of time should shock the conscience of the court," Geragos wrote in his court filing, which described the district attorney's accusations as a "vicious and unwarranted attack on Mr. Brown" and Virginia authorities.

The legal wrangling comes days before Sunday's Grammy Awards, where Brown's album "Fortune" is nominated, and follows a series of controversial incidents involving the entertainer, including a fight in January with singer Frank Ocean at a West Hollywood recording studio and a February 2012 encounter in Miami, where Brown allegedly drove away with the cellphone of a fan who took a photo of him and his then-girlfriend.

Another incident referenced was in March 2011 at the "Good Morning America" studio in New York City, where Brown became enraged after he was questioned about his assault on Rihanna. Brown threw a chair through a glass window, an act prosecutors said was "another demonstration of the defendant's anger-control issues and violent temper resulting in a violation of the law."

andrew.blankstein@latimes.com

jack.leonard@latimes.com

kate.mather@latimes.com

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