Washington isn’t typically a town known for news stories involving arrests of high-profile entertainment types. That’s usually an LA thing. Maybe even New York. In this town, our celebrities are old. They wear ties with dark colored suits and aren’t that interesting unless they happen to live on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. It’s only occasionally that we get an front page entertainment story. This one of those times. The last time this town got any kind of relevant TMZ web splatter was when Beyonce lip-synced during President Obama’s second inauguration. That was only criminal in the eyes of gossip columnists. This, Chris Brown’s felony arrest, is actual criminal.
The media showed up to the DC Superior Court with their news trucks, cameras and notepads as early as 6am. Most are angry. Their editors (mine included) told all of them that the arraignment would start between 8am to 10am but on Mondays, as we all found out, the arraignment courtroom doesn’t open before 1pm. Chris Brown has been held in Central Booking since 4:25am Sunday morning when he was picked up along with his bodyguard Christopher Hollosy in front of the W Hotel. He won’t see the judge until late Monday afternoon. There are over 100 cases on the court docket today. Apparently,Howard University’s Homecoming weekend was a very busy one for arrests. Brown and his 35 year-year-old bodyguard were charged with “assault with significant bodily injury” going into the proceedings. This charge will be probably be reduced to a misdemeanor but the real story here is that he’s still on probation for a similar charge in California for assaulting Rihanna in 2009. I hear this possible parole violation could land Virginia native in prison for four years. We’ll all find out how that turns out soon.
It’s still morning, Chris Brown won’t appear for another nine hours or so. Actually, nobody has a clue when he’ll appear. Not even the court’s Public Information Officer. She just tells us that Brown could be the first case at 1pm…or the very last case that could stretch until 8pm. The court doesn’t have an apparent order of how arraignments are processed. No alphabetical order. No case number order. It’s just whoever processes their case paperwork into the system and when. Brown and Hollosy are known as “Lock up 71 and 72” but that gives no indication of how long we’re going to sit. Outside the courthouse are throngs of cameras and fans. Inside, about 15 journalists representing various local and national media outlets sit-in waiting amongst the crowd of lawyers, US Marshalls, court staff, and attendees that either have a loved one being arraigned or just came to see Chris Brown. A female fan named Cocoa is one of the latter. She has been waiting all day with the journalists. She just wants to get a glimpse, and possibly even touch the megastar. She dumbfoundingly tells me, “I don’t care if he beats my ass and all of that. Chris Brown is my boo. I love that man.” She would later get kicked out of the courtroom for clapping when Brown’s arraignment is read but already she got what she needed. She’ll be waiting outside for him to come out later.
Security is tight but highly disorganized. Those that didn’t get inside courtroom C-10 by 12:30pm won’t get in. Once you leave the room you lose your seat. Bathroom breaks are not in God’s plan if you plan to stay in the room, unless you’re a reporter. The US Marshals are worried about a large gathering of people building up in the foyer near the Pre-Trial Services doorway. Chris Brown’s mother, brother and family, as well as supporters, want to get in the courtroom but are denied. Brown’s close friend and fellow music star Trey Songz is also in tow. It’s well after 2pm now and the group starts a loud commotion leading to a scrum with the US Marshals. They want to see their boy. The courtroom only holds about 100 people seated. They are reportedly shuffled into another room for the time being. They will eventually get into the courtroom about an hour before Chris Brown stands on the rug before the judge.