Top 10 Stories of 2009: #2 Chris Brown Pleads Guilty to Rihanna Assault

  Last February, music fans from around the world were aghast at the news that two of the industry’s biggest young stars, Chris Brown and Rihanna, were involved in a horrific domestic violence confrontation that left Rihanna badly battered the night of the Grammys. The incident happened on an early Sunday morning (February 8), with […]


Last February, music fans from around the world were aghast at the news that two of the industry’s biggest young stars, Chris Brown and Rihanna, were involved in a horrific domestic violence confrontation that left Rihanna badly battered the night of the Grammys.

The incident happened on an early Sunday morning (February 8), with initial media reports stating both singers had been involved in a car accident.

Later, it was confirmed by the LAPD that the couple were arguing in a car, which spilled outside to LA’s Hancock Park. A witness then called 911 when the argument became physical.

Rihanna was indentified as the victim, and suffered unspecified physical injuries from an attack. Her grandmother would only state that the singer was “fine” following the attack.

Chris Brown was charged with making criminal threats and felony assault against Rihanna. Bail was set at $50,000.

With reports circulating that Rihanna had suffered swelling, bruising, and face contusions from the fight, Brown issued a statement expressing remorse for his actions.

“Words cannot begin to express how sorry and saddened I am over what transpired,” Brown said on February 15. “I am seeking the counseling of my pastor, my mother and other loved ones, and I am committed, with God’s help, to emerging a better person…Much of what has been speculated or reported on blogs and/or reported in the media is wrong. While I would like to be able to talk about this more, until the legal issues are resolved, this is all I can say.”

4 days later, the backlash against Brown mounted when TMZ obtained a leaked police photograph showing Rihanna badly beaten and grimacing in emotional and physical pain.

The singer had two large bruises on her forehead, a split lip, and swelling around her face.

The LAPD launched an internal investigation on the photo leak, but as of date, the culprit has never been verified.

On her 21st birthday (February 20), Rihanna’s representatives released their first official statement since the attack.

“At the request of the authorities, Rihanna is not commenting about the incident involving Chris Brown,” it read. “She wants to assure her fans that she remains strong, is doing well, and deeply appreciates the outpouring of support she has received during this difficult time.”

Another twist in this saga was the fact that the young talents were still a couple, confirmed by their reunion at Diddy’s mansion in Miami Beach.

Brown and attorney Mark Geragos made their first court appearance on March 5, and succeeded with getting the case pushed back to April 6. On that date, Brown pleaded not guilty. However, the delay did not prevent court documents detailing the entire incident from being revealed to the public.

According to the records, the assault was triggered by Rihanna seeing a 3-page text message from a previous female sexual partner of Brown’s.

After unsuccessfully trying to push her out the car during their argument, Brown began the beating.

“Robyn F. turned to face Brown and he punched her in the left eye with his right hand. He then drove away in the vehicle and continued to punch her in the face with his right hand while steering the vehicle with his left hand. The assault caused Robyn F.’s mouth to fill with blood and blood to splatter all over her clothing and the interior of the vehicle.

“Brown looked at Robyn F. and stated, ‘I’m going to beat the s### out of you when we get home! You wait and see!’ ”

The report reads that Brown continued beating and also biting Rihanna while driving the vehicle. When she removed the key from the ignition, he began choking her.

“She reached up with her left hand and began attempting to gouge his eyes in an attempt to free herself. Brown bit her left ring and middle fingers and then released her. While Brown continued to punch her, she turned around and placed her back against the passenger door. She brought her knees to her chest, placed her feet against Brown’s body and began pushing him away. Brown continued to punch her on the legs and feet, causing several contusions.

“Robyn F. began screaming for help and Brown exited the vehicle and walked away. A resident in the neighborhood heard Robyn F.’s plea for help and called 911, causing a police response.

In May and June, Brown attorney Mark Geragos fought unsuccessfully to get the case dropped over the leaked police photo, and delay the preliminary.

Facing a financially costly and image-damaging case with Rihanna testifying, Chris Brown entered a last-minute guilty plea on June 22. He was sentenced to 180 days of community labor, and orders to stay away from Rihanna for 5 years.

The fallout for Chris Brown was immense. He lost his endorsement deal with Double Mint, and became a figure of revilement for celebrities such as Robin Givens to recall their past issues with domestic violence on talk shows. He appeared on Larry King Live and again rebuked his actions, but declined to supply details on his version of the incident.

Rumors also swirled at his every move. Jay-Z was allegedly irate when he saw the photo of Rihanna’s injuries, and many speculated the Brooklyn mogul had Brown pulled from BET Awards and its Michael Jackson tribute. Both parties would later deny the accusation.

Rihanna did not personally speak about the situation until granting a 20/20 interview with Diane Sawyer in the midst of promotion for her album Rated R.

“The thing that men don’t realize, when they hit a woman, it’s… the face, the broken arm, the black eye, it’s going to heal. That’s not … the problem,” she stated after confirming she finally split from Brown. “It’s the scar inside. You flashback. You … you remember it all the time. It comes back to you whether you like it or not. And it’s painful. So I don’t think he understood that. They never do.”

In his own 20/20 interview in December, Brown

 “It hurts [to hear Rihanna’s comments]. But it’s something I have to be responsible for because I’m responsible for my actions,” Brown told Robin Roberts. “I have love for her.”

To date, both Rihanna and Chris Brown remain a lightning rod for news and rumors, with the latest this week being an alleged angry Brown voicemail to Rihanna for her 20/20 interview.

Brown’s latest album, Graffiti, was released on December 8.