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Judge dismisses hit-and-run case against singer Chris Brown

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Los Angeles judge dismisses case after singer comes to ‘civil compromise’ with Mercedes driver

Chris Brown has emerged unscathed from a hit-and-run case that threatened to see him jailed for four years. A judge dismissed the last of the charges relating to a car crash in May, stating that Brown had come to a “civil compromise” with the victim.

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Los Angeles superior court judge Christine Ewell rejected the hit-and-run charge despite objections from the prosecution, who pointed to Brown’s aggression at the scene of the crash. After running into a Mercedes driven by Olga Gure-Kovalenko, Brown reportedly refused to hand over his driver’s permit or insurance information, and referred to Kovalenko as a “bitch”.

Despite these early offences, the singer did eventually provide Kovalenko with the correct information. Accordingly, LA city attorneys recently dropped the misdemeanor charges of driving without a licence and driving without insurance; only the hit-and-run allegation remained.

Because of Brown’s probation status, prosecutors argued, it was much more serious that he had left the scene without giving Kovalenko his details. But judge Ewell saw Brown and Kovalenko’s undisclosed “compromise” as sufficient grounds to dismiss the hit-and-run charge. “The case never should have been filed in the first place,” said Brown’s lawyer, Mark Geragos. Although details of the settlement were not released, he insisted Kovalenko had not been paid any money apart from insurance compensation for damage to her vehicle. “[Brown was] being prosecuted for who he is rather than what he’s done,” Geragos said.

While Brown is no longer threatened by this particular case, he remains at the centre of at least two legal disputes. Later today, he is scheduled to appear at a hearing over allegations that he has violated his probation through several offences, including the falsification of community service hours. Brown was also recently sued by Sha’keir Duarte, an associate of Frank Ocean, who claims he was assaulted during a fight with members of Brown’s entourage. “You just got your ass beat,” Brown allegedly told him. Duarte is seeking punitive damages for battery, assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and conspiracy to commit battery.

Brown, who recently suffered a seizure due to “extreme emotional stress”, is due to release a new album later this month. He has announced it will be his second-last.

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© Guardian News and Media 2013


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