Washington isn’t typically a town known for news stories involving arrests of high-profile entertainment types. That’s usually an LA thing. Maybe even New York. In this town, our celebrities are old. They wear ties with dark colored suits and aren’t that interesting unless they happen to live on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. It’s only occasionally that we get an front page entertainment story. This one of those times. The last time this town got any kind of relevant TMZ web splatter was when Beyonce lip-synced during President Obama’s second inauguration. That was only criminal in the eyes of gossip columnists. This, Chris Brown’s felony arrest, is actual criminal.
The media showed up to the DC Superior Court with their news trucks, cameras and notepads as early as 6am. Most are angry. Their editors (mine included) told all of them that the arraignment would start between 8am to 10am but on Mondays, as we all found out, the arraignment courtroom doesn’t open before 1pm. Chris Brown has been held in Central Booking since 4:25am Sunday morning when he was picked up along with his bodyguard Christopher Hollosy in front of the W Hotel. He won’t see the judge until late Monday afternoon. There are over 100 cases on the court docket today. Apparently, Howard University’s Homecoming weekend was a very busy one for arrests. Brown and his 35 year-year-old bodyguard were charged with “assault with significant bodily injury” going into the proceedings. This charge will be probably be reduced to a misdemeanor but the real story here is that he’s still on probation for a similar charge in California for assaulting Rihanna in 2009. I hear this possible parole violation could land Virginia native in prison for four years. We’ll all find out how that turns out soon.
It’s still morning, Chris Brown won’t appear for another nine hours or so. Actually, nobody has a clue when he’ll appear. Not even the court’s Public Information Officer. She just tells us that Brown could be the first case at 1pm…or the very last case that could stretch until 8pm. The court doesn’t have an apparent order of how arraignments are processed. No alphabetical order. No case number order. It’s just whoever processes their case paperwork into the system and when. Brown and Hollosy are known as “Lock up 71 and 72” but that gives no indication of how long we’re going to sit. Outside the courthouse are throngs of cameras and fans. Inside, about 15 journalists representing various local and national media outlets sit-in waiting amongst the crowd of lawyers, US Marshalls, court staff, and attendees that either have a loved one being arraigned or just came to see Chris Brown. A female fan named Cocoa is one of the latter. She has been waiting all day with the journalists. She just wants to get a glimpse, and possibly even touch the megastar. She dumbfoundingly tells me, “I don’t care if he beats my ass and all of that. Chris Brown is my boo. I love that man.” She would later get kicked out of the courtroom for clapping when Brown’s arraignment is read but already she got what she needed. She’ll be waiting outside for him to come out later.
Security is tight but highly disorganized. Those that didn’t get inside courtroom C-10 by 12:30pm won’t get in. Once you leave the room you lose your seat. Bathroom breaks are not in God’s plan if you plan to stay in the room, unless you’re a reporter. The US Marshals are worried about a large gathering of people building up in the foyer near the Pre-Trial Services doorway. Chris Brown’s mother, brother and family, as well as supporters, want to get in the courtroom but are denied. Brown’s close friend and fellow music star Trey Songz is also in tow. It’s well after 2pm now and the group starts a loud commotion leading to a scrum with the US Marshals. They want to see their boy. The courtroom only holds about 100 people seated. They are reportedly shuffled into another room for the time being. They will eventually get into the courtroom about an hour before Chris Brown stands on the rug before the judge.
The afternoon drags on as case after case is processed. Prisoners shackled from wrist to ankle are rotated into the room in pairs. Three sit in wait as one finds out their fate from the judge. Superior court judge Karen Howze and her staff hears arguments from lawyers of the accused and the lawyer from the state attorney’s office on each case and she then makes determinations of who can go free until their court date and who must return to lock up. Arraignments and presentations ranging from solicitation of prostitution to armed robbery are heard. After court dates are set, most are unshackled and sent home with conditions. Still no Chris Brown. Trey Songz sits in the back of the courtroom bored with his hands in his face. Because of Brown’s arrest, Songz and his team missed their flight out of Dulles. They’re hoping to catch the last flight out at 8pm.
It’s closing on 6pm. Luck wasn’t on our side in this instance. Chris Brown is the very last case of the day. Brown and his gigantic co-defendant Christopher Hollosy are both ushered unceremoniously into the courtroom with shackles. All eyes turn to them. Like their fellow accused, their wrists are anchored to their ankles like they are about to auctioned and sent down South. They drag feet to the middle of the courtroom and face Judge Howze with two US Marshals standing behind them. Still wearing the same white shirt and grey sweatpant outfit that he got arrested in Brown looks worn. His blond hair is matted. The laces seem to be missing from his white Adidas shell toes but I can’t tell. He stands limp in a slouching position with a blank yet humbled look on his face and tells the judge his name. He says nothing else. His lawyers take it from there. His co-defendant, who looks like a WWE heel with his long brown dreads, tattoos and a rain forest’s worth of facial hair, stands silently beside him. Brown and Hollesy both plead not guilty to charges that are reduced to simple assault, a misdemeanor. The lawyer asks that Brown be released on his personal recognizance. The judge agrees and rules that after his release Brown must report to his probation officer in California within 48 hours. She also orders that Brown undergo a drug treatment program but that ruling is later vacated. A new trial is set for November 25th at 10am. After the ruling, Brown and Hollosy are both unshackled and head to Pre-Trial Services to out process. The entire proceeding took five minutes. We waited all day for five minutes. The photographers outside waited just as long. photographers position themselves at one of three exits to get a money shot of Chris Brown leaving the courthouse. Fans bunch behind them with camera phones drawn.
Chris Brown emerges from the courthouse’s C Street entrance and pandemonium breaks loose. Brown gives a quick wave to his fans because his security team huddles tight with their newly freed superstar in the middle and push through the photo frenzy of flashing lights and screams. They climb into a black suburban truck and drive off. That took a minute and change.
Chris Brown Leaving The DC Superior Courthouse
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