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Chris Brown avoids jail time in plea bargain

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Chris Brown pleaded guilty to felony assault today in Los Angeles in a deal with prosecutors. Brown was sentenced to probation and community service for beating then-girlfriend Rihanna in a February incident. He must also stay 50 yards away from Rihanna unless the two are present at the same event, in which case he must stay 10 yards away from her, and he is forbidden from contacting her in any way. The deal includes 180 days of community service such as trash removal in Virginia (where Brown resides), along with fiveyears of supervised probation and a court-mandated 52-week domestic violencecounseling program. (The singer had faced up to four years in prison if convicted.)

Rihanna was not present at the hearing until Brown left the courtroom, at which point she arrived and was given a copy of the judge’s stay-away order for Brown. She made no statement. Brown will be formally sentenced on Aug. 5. (Additional reporting by John Young)