Chris Brown hit-and-run case collapsing? Two charges dismissed
The Los Angeles city attorney’s criminal case against singer Chris Brown showed signs of collapsing Tuesday after prosecutors dismissed misdemeanor charges of driving without a license or insurance, leaving only an allegation of hit-and-run.
Brown’s attorney, Mark Geragos, has already filed a motion to dismiss that charge citing a civil settlement between Brown and the other driver, Olga Kovalenko, whose Mercedes was rear-ended in a May collision.
The court has yet to make a decision on that motion.
Brown on Tuesday entered a not-guilty plea to the hit-and-run misdemeanor and has publicly said he stopped and spoke to the alleged victim, providing her with information.
Geragos said he would reserve comment until the case is resolved.
Frank Mateljan, a spokesman for the city attorney’s office, said prosecutors opted to dismiss the driving without a license charge because Brown produced a license from his native Virginia; and a driving without insurance charge also was dismissed because he was able to show he had insurance.
The misdemeanor case is important because at time of the incident, Brown was on five years’ probation for his 2009 conviction for beating his then-girlfriend Rihanna.
Judge James R. Brandlin last week revoked Brown’s probation and set a court date of Aug. 16. Brown could face up to four years in jail on the probation violation.
L.A. County district attorney’s officials said the decision to drop certain charges won’t influence their pursuit of the probation violation. Prosecutors are also alleging that Brown never completed his community service as he contends.
The judge last week ordered Brown released without bail after Deputy Dist. Atty. Mary Murray did not request that the singer be taken into custody.
Brown in August 2009 was ordered to serve 1,400 hours of community service, complete domestic violence classes and serve five years’ probation. He was convicted of felony domestic violence for striking Rihanna as he was driving a rented Lamborghini through Los Angeles after a Grammys party.
Brown has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.
“I did everything I was suppose to do during the so called hit n run,” Brown wrote on Twitter on Monday. “I provided the correct info(rmation). There were no injuries or damages. (come on)!!”
Once called a model probationer by a judge, Brown’s actions have recently been questioned by prosecutors.
Earlier this year, prosecutors accused the singer of having significant discrepancies in the records supporting his 1,400 hours of community service in his native Virginia and asked a judge to toss them out.
In the latest incident, Brown is accused of rear-ending a woman’s Mercedes with his Range Rover on May 21 on Barham Boulevard.
According to a district attorney’s investigators report, the woman and Brown pulled over to the side of the road after the incident at a red light about 12:30 p.m.
Both parties then took pictures of each others’ vehicles; and Brown’s passenger, Karrueche Tientrese Tran, said they should exchange numbers.
The Mercedes driver asked Brown for his driver’s license and insurance information as required by California law, but he produced neither of them, according to the report.
Instead, Brown’s passenger told the woman the car was her vehicle and handed over her driver’s license, and after some searching produced an expired insurance card for a Lamborghini, according to court documents filed by the D.A.'s office.
Prosecutors attached a letter that the woman sent to the LAPD investigator about the hit-and-run. In the letter, she said Brown and his passenger went “ballistic” when they realized she was taking photos.
The woman said Brown’s passenger began screaming, “She took a picture!,” and that Brown then tried to grab the camera from her. Brown allegedly called her profane names suggesting she thought less of him because he was a black man and used a racial epithet for himself.
The woman told police that Brown said he was richer than she was and again called her a profane name, according to court documents filed by prosecutors.
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