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Chris Brown returns to Los Angeles court to address issues with probation; April hearing set

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LOS ANGELES, Calif. - With the woman he assaulted throwing him a kiss, Chris Brown walked into court Wednesday to face allegations he failed to complete his community labour sentence for Rihanna's 2009 beating.

A judge asked for more information and scheduled another hearing in two months.

Rihanna, the glamorous singer whose bruised face became a tabloid fixture after she was beaten by her then-boyfriend on the way to the Grammys, has been dating Brown again.

She arrived with the R&B star, his mother and two other women and blew him a kiss as he entered the courtroom. They left together after the short proceeding in which Superior Court Judge James Brandlin set the next hearing for April 5.

Brown's lawyer, Mark Geragos, said he was disturbed about the way the district attorney handled the matter and said he would be filing a motion opposing the prosecution's move to modify Brown's fulfilment of his community labour sentence.

Prosecutors, who said they could find no credible evidence that Brown had completed his community labour in his home state of Virginia, asked that he start all over and put in 180 days in Los Angeles County.

Prosecutors have suggested there was either sloppy record keeping or fraudulent reporting.

The judge noted during the brief court session that a prosecution filing did not request revocation of Brown's probation and he, therefore, would not revoke it.

A motion filed Tuesday also raised for the first time in Brown's felony assault case several incidents that prosecutors said demonstrate Brown has ongoing anger management issues.

The motion cited a Jan. 27 fight between Brown and fellow R&B star Frank Ocean, and a 2011 outburst in which Brown threw a chair through a window after he was asked about the Rihanna attack on "Good Morning America."

The filing represents a dramatic shift in the case against Brown, who was repeatedly praised by the judge overseeing his case for his completion of domestic violence courses and his community service work in his home state of Virginia.

That changed in September, when prosecutors raised concerns about Brown's community service after he logged 701 hours in seven months — an amount that had previously taken him more than two years to achieve.

Los Angeles investigators travelled to Richmond, Va., to investigate Brown's service, which was only described in broad strokes by Richmond Police Chief Bryan Norwood, who was overseeing the singer's community labour.

"This inquiry provided no credible, competent or verifiable evidence that defendant Brown performed his community labour as presented to this court," Deputy District Attorney Mary Murray wrote.

Brown's attorney Geragos blasted the court filing, saying the prosecutor ignored interviews "where sworn peace officers stated unequivocally that Mr. Brown was supervised and did all of the community service."

"I plan on asking for sanctions from the DA's office for filing a frivolous, scurrilous and frankly defamatory motion," he said Tuesday.

Brown's case was transferred to Brandlin after a recent shuffling of judicial assignments.

After pleading guilty to the Rihanna attack, Brown was given permission to serve 180 days of community labour in his home state of Virginia, but only as long as he performed manual labour such as graffiti removal and roadside cleanup.

Given problems with documentation and statements from some witnesses who contradict Brown's claims of work, prosecutors asked Brandlin to order Brown to repeat his service in Los Angeles.

Brown spent one-third of the hours he logged in Virginia working night shifts at a day care centre in rural Virginia where his mother once served as director and where the singer spent time as a child.

A detective who checked on Brown's work nine times at the Tappahannock Children's Center found the singer, his mother and a bodyguard at the centre on each visit.

The records said Brown waxed floors or performed general cleaning at the centre.

A professional floor cleaner contracted to work at the daycare centre told investigators he had been cleaning the floors during the months Brown reported working at the facility.

"Claims that the defendant cleaned, stripped and waxed floors at that location have been credibly contradicted," prosecutors said in the filing.

Brown's mother, Joyce Hawkins, no longer had a formal role at the day care centre but had her own set of keys and co-ordinated her son's work at the facility, prosecutors said.

Murray stated in her filing that Norwood's report on Brown's service was "at best sloppy documentation and at worst fraudulent reporting."

Richmond police spokesman Gene Lepley declined to discuss the allegations.

"We believe it would inappropriate to comment on a matter that's before the court," Lepley said.

According to the motion, officials with Virginia's probation office told investigators that Brown's arrangement to be supervised by Norwood was "extremely unusual" and had not been approved by the agency. No one from Virginia's probation department oversaw Brown's hours, prosecutors said.

The motion noted that the only records the department has to indicate Brown was supervised were officers' overtime sheets. Five of 21 days that officers logged overtime for Brown were spent providing security for the singer's concerts.

The allegations are the latest pre-Grammy controversy for Brown, who was arrested shortly after the 2009 ceremony for his attack on Rihanna. He has since returned to the awards show by performing and winning an award in 2011 for his album "F.A.M.E."

Brown and Ocean are competing against one other for the Best Urban Contemporary Album category at Sunday's Grammys.

___

AP writers Anthony McCartney and Ryan Pearson contributed to this report.

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