12:00pm PT by Eriq Gardner
Is Chris Brown's 'GMA' Meltdown a Parole Violation?
Chris Brown's outburst today on ABC's Good Morning America raises the specter that the singer could be going to jail for violating his probation on domestic abuse.
During an interview, Brown got miffed when asked about his 2009 assault on then-girlfriend Rihanna, telling interviewer Robin Roberts that he preferred to focus on his new album, F.A.M.E. Brown was asked again and again about the incident, and he wasn't happy. After performing a song, the singer stormed off and then allegedly trashed his dressing room, including taking a chair and smashing a window, sending shards of glass onto 43rd Street and Broadway. ABC then called security.
The incident will almost certainly trigger a judge's review of his latest actions.
Jonathan Kelman, a California criminal defense attorney who specializes in these kinds of matters, says that although Brown's actions don't relate directly to his assault conviction on Rihanna, the last thing any judge tells a convicted individual about to head out on probation is to, "Obey the law."
As normal course, Brown's probation officer will likely file a report with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Patricia Shnegg, who in November gave the singer a glowing report about his progress. Brown's probation lasts another three years, however, so he must behave during the full term.
ABC could press charges for vandalism, and some of the spectators harmed or threatened by the broken glass could press charges for assault. But even if that doesn't happen, Kelman says that the specter of handcuffs is usually enough to trigger a probationary review. "The burden for proving a violation is so much lower," says Kelman, advising that the singer's lawyer should contact both his probation officer and the D.A.'s office straight away and "grovel" for leniency.
"They probably can claim his buttons were pushed (during the interview)," says Kelman. "That could be a mitigating factor. In many cases, a judge might understand, but it'll certainly depend on the media circus that surrounds this incident. The D.A.'s office could be under some pressure."