Chris Brown headed to D.C. in chains via Con Air
LOS ANGELES (CNN) — Chris Brown’s trip to face trial in Washington will be on the Justice Department’s “Con Air” prisoner airline, not on a private jet or a first class commercial ticket as the singer hoped.
Brown, 24, was transferred into the custody of federal marshals after an extradition hearing in federal court in Los Angeles on Wednesday, according to U.S. Marshals Service spokewoman Laura Vega.
Brown will be booked on a series of government planes that hopscotch across the country taking inmates from prison to prison, Vega said. The trip, with several layovers in jails along the way, could take up to two weeks, she said.
Unlike Brown’s usual mode of touring the country in luxury, he will be wearing handcuffs and possibly chains on his legs.
Brown has been confined to the Los Angeles County jail since he was booted from a court-ordered rehab program three weeks ago.
The U.S. Attorney in Washington petitioned for Brown to be extradited from Los Angeles to D.C. for his April 17 trial.
Brown and his bodyguard are accused of assaulting a man on a D.C. sidewalk last October.
The singer is on probation for the 2009 felony assault of then-girlfriend Rihanna.
Brown lawyer Mark Geragos said Brown would attend a pretrial hearing in Washington on April 7.
Geragos tried to persuade Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James Brandlin to release Brown from jail so he could fly on his own to Washington. Prosecutors opposed that request and suggested the decision should be made by a federal judge.
Brown’s legal troubles began five years ago when he beat Rihanna as the two were in a rented Lamborghini on a Hollywood street. He pleaded guilty to felony assault in June 2009, which resulted in a sentence of five years of probation and 1,400 hours of community labor.
The judge has revoked Brown’s probation twice in the last year, most recently because of his arrest on a sidewalk near the White House after allegedly punching a man.
Brown voluntarily entered a rehab program a day after being released from a Washington jail in October, but he was kicked out a few days later for “throwing a rock through his mother’s car window” after a family session at the center, a probation report said. Brown was upset because his mother said she wanted him to stay in treatment, the report said.
“Mr. Brown preceded to walk outside and pick up a rock and threw it through his mother’s car window and it shattered,” according to a letter from the rehab center included in the probation report.
His probation was revoked last November, but the judge allowed him to stay out of jail by entering a 90-day anger management and drug rehab program. Although he completed that program last month, the judge ordered him to remain a resident at the Malibu treatment facility until another hearing on April 23.
Brown’s probation officer reported at a February hearing that the singer “continues to make great improvement” in dealing with anger, stress and drugs, but the judge decided he could not go free until after his trial for an assault charge in Washington on April 17. If he is convicted in that case, the judge would decide at an April 23 hearing if Brown should complete his probation in jail.
He was sent to jail on on March 14 after he was kicked out of the second rehab program for rules violations.
The judge said he was concerned about a “provocative” statement counselors said Brown wrote on a card at the Malibu rehab center. “I am good at using guns and knives,” according to a document read in court.
The rehab program told Brown to leave because of that statement and two other rules violations, the document said. Brown refused a drug test — which his lawyer denied — and he touched elbows with a female patient, according to the document.
Brown had been working on a highway cleanup labor crew in Los Angeles three days a week to fulfill the 750 hours of service remaining in his probation requirements, his probation report said. At that rate, Brown could complete the labor in mid-October and possibly be free from probation requirements by the end of the year. With his community labor work now on hold, his probation is expected to extend into 2015.
CNN’s Carolyn Sung contributed to this report.