Chris Brown Cops a Plea for Probation

The details of what really happened between Chris Brown and Rihanna in a rented Lamborghini during the early hours of Feb. 8 may never be known, since Brown struck a deal with prosecutors today, pleading guilty to felony assault in exchange for probation.

Brown's lawyer Mark Geragos announced that a deal had been struck just minutes before a preliminary hearing was set to start in a Los Angeles courtroom. Brown, who could have faced four years in prison for felony charges of assault and making criminal threats, will not serve any jail time.

Instead, he was sentenced to five years probation and 1400 hours of community service, which he may be allowed to serve in his home state of Virginia. If Brown violates his probation, he will be ordered to serve the maximum four years.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Patricia Schnegg also issued a protective stay-away order, under which Brown cannot come within 50 yards of Rihanna unless they are required to be at the same event, in which he case, he cannot come within 10 yards of her. He's also banned from having any phone or e-mail contact with her.

Rihanna had been set to testify at the preliminary hearing. Instead, wearing a black mini dress and pearls and appearing perfectly coiffed, the pop singer showed up in court just after Brown left and stood calmly while the judge explained the details of the protective order.

Outside the courtroom, Rihanna's attorney Donald Etra told that she had been notified about the plea about an hour and 15 minutes before Brown appeared in court.

"She has no objection," Etra said. "Her input was elicited and she fully agreed with the plea agreement. It was all right with her."

When other reporters asked about her state of mind, Etra responded: "From the beginning she has stated that she would be prepared to testify. She was here today. She was prepared to testify and if there had been a preliminary hearing she would have testified truthfully."

Instead, there were reports that Geragos had met with Schnegg for more than an hour in her chambers.

Wearing a lightweight beige plaid suit with a tie and handkerchief, Brown arrived at court at 1:45 p.m. with an entourage of about 10 people, including his mother, Joyce Hawkins, who sat in the front row.

Chris Brown's Plea Deal

As part of the plea deal, Brown was also ordered to attend 52 weeks of domestic violence counseling and surrender any fire arms within 24 hours. Brown must also submit a DNA sample.

After the prosecutor read off the terms of the plea agreement, the judge asked Brown, "How do you plea?" He responded in a strong voice, "Guilty."

"I think it is commendable that you took responsibility for your actions," the judge then told Brown. "I hope the terms of your probation will have some meaning for you. This will be a felony. This will be formal probation, supervised probation."

Schnegg also said his community service would not be at a "church or old folks home." Instead, she described it as transportation duty, which amounts to picking up trash along the roadways, and cleaning off graffiti.

With this plea arrangement, Brown's and Rihanna's accounts of that fateful night, which left her bruised and bloodied and Brown under arrest for felony charges, will remain unsaid -- at least for now.

Here is a look at the events that led up to today's plea deal:

Feb. 7, 2009

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