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Singer Chris Brown expected to get plea offer in assault case

Rapper Chris Brown leaves the U.S. District Court in WashingtonRapper Chris Brown leaves the U.S. District Court in Washington

By Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Prosecutors in Washington plan to offer Grammy-winning R&B singer Chris Brown a plea bargain on an assault charge arising from an altercation outside a hotel in the nation's capital, a U.S. attorney said on Monday.

Brown, 24, pleaded not guilty on October 28 to misdemeanor assault stemming from an incident in which police said he and his bodyguard punched a man in the face outside a Washington hotel.

"I expect a plea offer to be given to the defense in a couple of days," Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Cannon said during a brief status hearing in District of Columbia Superior Court, which Brown did not attend.

When the incident occurred, Brown was serving five years of probation under a 2009 sentence for assaulting fellow R&B singer and girlfriend Rihanna.

Senior Judge Geoffrey Alprin said Brown was in California, where he faces separate charges that he violated terms of his probation. He granted a continuance until January 8 for the status hearing, which Brown is expected to attend.

A judge in Los Angeles on Wednesday ordered Brown to complete a 90-day substance abuse and anger management program.

Brown was charged in Washington with breaking the nose of a man who jumped into a photo being taken of the singer and two fans, a few blocks from the White House.

Prosecutors gave no hint of the terms of the plea deal they plan to offer Brown and declined to comment after the hearing. Brown faces up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted of the assault charge.

The singer served a voluntary two-week stay in a rehabilitation facility for anger management after his Washington arrest.

Brown has had several highly publicized altercations in recent years. They include a brawl between his entourage and that of rapper Drake at a New York nightclub and a parking lot fracas with R&B singer Frank Ocean in January in West Hollywood.

(Editing by Ian Simpson and Cynthia Johnston; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)