Chris Brown trial delayed; bodyguard convicted of misdemeanor

WASHINGTON – The bodyguard for R&B singer Chris Brown was convicted of assault Monday in connection with an altercation with a fan, and a judge delayed the singer’s trial until Wednesday.

Attorneys for Brown, who is accused of striking a fan outside a District of Columbia hotel in October, had asked for the delay in the case, which had been scheduled to go to trial Monday.

The request came after Brown’s bodyguard, Chris Hollosy, 35, was found guilty of misdemeanor assault in connection with the incident. His two-day trial was held last week in D.C. Superior Court.

Hollosy’s conviction created a kink in the strategy for Brown’s attorneys. Hollosy was supposed to testify on behalf of his boss during the trial, but with the conviction, Hollosy’s attorneys now say Hollosy could jeopardize his appeal if he took the stand and said anything that incriminated himself. Now, Hollosy’s attorneys want prosecutors to offer immunity in exchange for Hollosy’s testimony so that his appeal would not be affected.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Chambers, who along with prosecutor Kendra Briggs prosecuted both cases, said his office could not offer immunity to Hollosy unless Hollosy agreed to meet with prosecutors before he testifies and debriefs the prosecutors on what his testimony will be. Prosecutors will then determine if Hollosy’s proposed testimony is credible in exchange for such an agreement. Hollosy however, through his attorney, Bernie Grimm, declined to meet with prosecutors.

Immunity in exchange for such testimony isn’t unusual, but is often only granted in felony drug cases.

Observers say it was likely that Hollosy had planned to testify that he, and only he, struck the victim, Parker Adams, 20, of Beltsville, Md. At one of the earlier hearings, a D.C. police detective said that on the night of the altercation, Hollosy told police he was the only one who struck Adams, not Brown.

Brown’s attorneys have said that he is innocent and that he and Hollosy were trying to protect Brown and his property. But Senior Judge Patricia Wynn, who oversaw Hollosy’s trial, rejected Hollosy’s self defense claim and said Hollosy’s reaction “was not justified” in protecting Brown and that the victim in the case presented no serious threat. Wynn called Hollosy’s punch “excessive.”

Hollosy is scheduled to be sentenced on June 25. The charge carries a maximum of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

After the judge announced her verdict, Hollosy and his attorney left the courtroom. Nearly an hour later, Brown was escorted into the courtroom as his attorneys argued about Hollosy’s testimony. Brown sat next to his attorneys as two U.S. Marshals sat behind him.

Brown seemed more subdued than when he first entered the courtroom on Friday. Then he smiled broadly at his mother, aunt and friends sitting in the audience. On Monday, he nodded to his family, smiled quickly and turned toward his attorney.

Brown is in custody of the U.S. Marshals Service and was transported via prison bus from a Virginia jail to the courthouse Monday morning. The 24-year-old Grammy and MTV award-winning singer had been kept in isolation in the courthouse cellblock until marshals escort him to Courtroom 202. After leaving the courthouse, Brown was transported via prison bus to a Virginia jail, where he has also been kept in isolation.

During the next two days, Brown’s attorneys also hope to talk to the California judge who ordered Brown locked up last month for allegedly making threats about using guns while in an anger-management rehabilitation center last month. He had been ordered to the in-patient facility as part of his plea deal in connection with his 2009 conviction for assaulting his then-girlfriend, pop star Rihanna.

As part of that California judge’s order, Brown was scheduled to be released from jail on Wednesday, April 23. Brown’s attorneys were hoping Brown could be ordered released from jail from here, as opposed to returning to California for the judge to hold a release hearing.

About 20 people, mostly Brown’s fans, had stood in line outside the courtroom for more than an hour, waiting for the Brown’s trial to start. When news of Hollosy’s verdict reached them, several women began crying. “We have to stay positive for Chris,” said Melissa Banks, 24, of Richmond, Va.

If Brown’s trial begins on Wednesday, the witnesses scheduled to testify are expected to be the same who testified in the Hollosy trial, including Adams, his girlfriend, a Howard University freshman and a limo driver.

Adams testified in Hollosy’s trial that his girlfriend and another woman were taking a photo with Brown outside the W Hotel downtown when Adams jumped in the picture. Brown told him to back out, he said.

Adams said he responded: “Man, why you hoin,” street slang meaning to ignore or disrespect. He said Brown punched him and, as the altercation continued, Hollosy punched him.

If Brown is convicted, in addition to a maximum six months in jail, he also faces as much as additional four years in jail in California as a result of violating the terms of his probation in the Rihanna case.