Singer Chris Brown has been released after spending more than a day in custody following an accusation of assault.
The incident in Washington, DC, could further complicate his unsettled legal situation.
Additional time behind bars remains a possibility for him – both in the District of Columbia and California – where he remains on probation for his 2009 beating of his on-again, off-again girlfriend Rihanna.
Brown emerged from a Washington court yesterday flashing a peace sign after he was freed from custody following a charge filed when a man accused the Grammy winner and his bodyguard of punching him and breaking his nose outside a hotel.
His arrest early on Sunday comes at a crucial time for the singer, who is releasing an album this winter and is under a deadline to complete hundreds of hours of community service to satisfy his sentence for the Rihanna attack.
His day and a half in custody is the longest time the scandal-plagued singer has spent behind bars and the case represents the most serious accusations he has faced since his attack on Rihanna.
Brown left the courthouse to cheers from supporters, some of whom clapped when a judge announced he would be released.
His time in custody was much longer than the few hours he spent at a Los Angeles jail after the Rihanna attack.
In contrast to Brown’s LA court appearances, which routinely happen in the afternoon when his case is the only one on calendar, Brown appeared in a crowded DC courtroom and had to wait until the end of the day to be called and his release granted.
Brown is accused of punching a man who tried to get a picture with the singer and two other people near Washington’s W Hotel early on Sunday, according to the man’s account in a police report.
The report states that Parker Isaac Adams, 20, said Brown told him: “I feel like boxing.”
The man told police Brown punched him in the face, and a court document states that his nose was fractured.
Brown’s bodyguard, Chris Hollosy, stepped between them and also punched the man before grabbing Brown by the arm and leading him toward his tour bus, according to the report.
In an interview with police, Brown denied hitting the man and said he was on his tour bus when Hollosy got into a fight with Adams.
“We understand that his security acted to protect Mr Brown and Mr Brown’s property as he was authorised to do under District of Columbia law. We are confident that Mr. Brown will be exonerated of any wrongdoing,” Brown’s lawyer, Danny Onorato, said after yesterday’s hearing.
Brown, 24, had a squeaky clean image before his attack on Rihanna on the eve of the 2009 Grammys, but since then has had several flare-ups that have been reported to authorities and noted by Los Angeles prosecutors.
He broke a window after a 2011 interview in New York and was accused of snatching a woman’s mobile phone in Miami after she tried to snap pictures of the singer.
He was also slightly injured in a New York nightclub brawl and earlier this year, was accused of being involved in a fistfight with Frank Ocean’s entourage over a parking spot at a West Hollywood recording studio.
He was not charged in any of the incidents, but they have kept his public image tarnished, even as legions of fans continue to support him.
Many of Brown’s more than 13 million Twitter followers continue to come to the singer’s defence and attack his critics on the site.
The release of his latest album, 'X', was delayed earlier this year and is due to be released in the coming months.
While jail time would put a dent in his career, others – from Lil Wayne to TI – have made it to the top of the charts after prison stints.
Brown faces an August 2014 deadline to complete 1,000 hours of graffiti clean-up or other community work. The additional service was added earlier this year after prosecutors accused him of failing to properly complete his service in his home state of Virginia.
In addition to penalties Brown would face if convicted in the Washington case, he also faces the possibility of up to four years in prison if a Los Angeles judge determines he violated his probation for the Rihanna attack.