Chris Brown sentenced in LA for assault

Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:36pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Disgraced R&B star Chris Brown was sentenced to five years' probation and 180 days of community labor on Tuesday for beating up his then-girlfriend, pop singer Rihanna.

The sentencing by a Los Angeles judge followed a plea deal. Brown, 20, pleaded guilty to assault on June 22. As part of his sentence, he must also complete a one-year domestic violence counseling program.

He assaulted Rihanna during an argument that began in the small hours of February 8, while the couple were in a rented Lamborghini. The incident left the 21-year-old starlet bloodied and bruised, and sparked an outcry from groups that offer support and services to victims of domestic abuse.

Brown formally apologized last month, calling the incident "unacceptable, 100 percent," and asking for forgiveness.

He was originally supposed to be sentenced earlier this month, but Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Patricia Schnegg gave court officials more time to ensure that Brown's punishment would involve physical work.

Brown will be able to perform his community labor -- meaning highway cleanup, litter removal or other work -- in Virginia, where he lives. He will also be allowed to attend a domestic violence counseling program in that state.

As part of the sentence, Schnegg also ordered Brown to stay at least 100 yards away from Rihanna, unless they are both attending an entertainment industry function, when the restriction would be lowered to 10 yards.

"Any violation of this protective order is a violation of your probation," Schnegg told Brown, who said he understood.

Schnegg also warned him that he could serve time behind bars if he violates any term of his probation.

The sentence "does come with a potential of state prison if you should violate in any way," she added.

(Reporting by Dean Goodman; Editing by Sandra Maler and Phil Stewart)

<p>Entertainer Chris Brown (L) stands with his attorney Mark Geragos during Brown's sentencing in Los Angeles August 25, 2009. REUTERS/Rick Loomis/Pool</p>