The two men, who had spent the previous 36 hours in a Washington jail, entered a packed courtroom in leg irons and handcuffs, but at the end they were unshackled and released without bail Monday afternoon.
Brown, 24, was ordered to report to his California probation officer within 48 hours and to stay at least 100 yards away from the man he is accused of assaulting early Sunday. Both men must return to court on November 24.
"Christopher Brown committed no crime," his attorney Danny Onorato told reporters after the hearing. "We understand that his security acted to protect Mr. Brown and his property, as he is authorized to do under District of Columbia law. We are confident that Mr. Brown will be exonerated of any wrongdoing."
He and bodyguard Christopher Hollosy had been facing felony assault charges, the Washington Metropolitan Police Department said.
The arrest could have serious legal consequences for Brown because he is on probation for the felony domestic violence conviction relating to his 2009 attack on former girlfriend Rihanna.
The Los Angeles County district attorney's office is not commenting Monday about Brown's arrest, but prosecutors have been aggressive in the past year in monitoring Brown's compliance with rules of his California probation.
They have twice filed probation violation charges against the singer this year, resulting in an additional 1,000 hours of community labor being added to his sentence for beating Rihanna.
The next step in Los Angeles is for Brown's probation officer to prepare a report on the arrest for Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James Brandlin, who had already ordered Brown to appear in his court on November 20 for a probation status hearing.
Police say Brown and Hollosy attacked a man with their fists outside the W Hotel in downtown Washington at 4:25 a.m. Sunday.
A police incident report obtained by CNN identified the alleged victim as Isaac Adams Parker, 20, of Beltsville, Maryland. Parker did not respond to a CNN call for comment.
Parker told police that he tried to jump into a photo that Brown was posing for with a female fan on the sidewalk when the singer said, "I'm not down with that gay s--t" and "I feel like boxing," the police report said. Parker said that Brown then punched him in the face with his closed fist, the report said.
Parker said Brown's bodyguard -- who stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 240 pounds -- stepped between them and punched Parker in the face, the report said. The bodyguard then grabbed Brown by his arm and pulled him toward his tour bus, which was parked nearby, it said.
Brown and the bodyguard were taken into custody and were being held at the Second District police station, police said. Both men were later transferred to a central jail cell block for processing, police said,
Parker was treated for a bruised and swollen face at a hospital and released, police spokesman Anthony Clay told CNN.
Brown was in Washington to host a "homecoming party" at The Park at Fourteen nightclub Saturday night, according to his Twitter feed, just four blocks away from where he was arrested Sunday morning.
His representative and lawyer did not respond to CNN calls for comment Sunday.
Brown was arrested in February 2009 for punching Rihanna inside a rented Lamborghini on a Hollywood street. The altercation left the face of Rihanna, also a chart-topping singer, bruised and bloody on the eve of the Grammy Awards.
He entered a guilty plea seven months later and was sentenced to serve five years of probation and ordered to spend more than 1,400 hours in "labor-oriented service."
His probation reports were glowing until the past year, when the district attorney's office accused him of not completing the 1,400 hours of community labor, which he was allowed to do in his home state of Virginia.
He was also accused of hit-and-run after a minor traffic crash this year. The driver of the other car told investigators that Brown "went ballistic" and screamed at her after his Range Rover rear-ended her Mercedes on a Los Angeles street.
In August, Brown's lawyer reached a settlement with prosecutors to end their efforts to revoke his probation. The deal called for Brown to complete another 1,000 hours of community service.
Probation rules require Brown to stay out of all legal trouble. Even an arrest that does not lead to a conviction could result in a probation violation charge.
CNN's Brian Todd and Alison Harding contributed to this report.
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