PARIS – Singer Chris Brown was released from custody late Tuesday after rape allegations were made against him, Paris prosecutors said, as Brown took to social media to assail the accuser as a liar.
“I WANNA MAKE IT PERFECTLY CLEAR…… THIS IS FALSE AND A WHOLE LOT OF CAP! NNNNNNNNEEEEEEEEEEVVVVVVVVVVEEEEEERRRRRR!!!!!! FOR MY DAUGHTER AND MY FAMILY THIS IS SO DISPRESPECTFUL AND IS AGAINST MY CHARACTER AND MORALS!!!!!” read his Instagram post.
He was responding to an accusation by an unidentified woman who said she met Brown and a group of his friends at the club Le Crystal last week and then went to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in central Paris where she says she was sexually assaulted by Brown and others.
Brown and two other people had been detained and in custody since Monday on potential charges of aggravated rape and drug infractions as French judicial officials began an initial investigation.
Investigators had a 48-hour deadline to decide whether to let him go or file preliminary charges. The Paris prosecutor’s office said the investigation is ongoing.
There was a possibility that Brown could be locked up for weeks or months while a judge investigated the allegations and if he is determined to be a flight risk from France, according to experts in the French legal system who spoke to USA TODAY.
“The big question is will the investigating judge let him go, or will he consider (Brown) needs to be placed in detention (while he investigates),” said French criminal defense lawyer Stéphane Babonneau.
Brown’s publicists at Sony Music would not immediately comment on the complaint or say what Brown, 29, was doing in Paris.
One of Brown’s bodyguards was among the others detained, according to a Paris police official. Neither the police nor the judicial official was authorized to be publicly named discussing the investigation.
Brown’s Los Angeles lawyer, Mark Geragos, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Brown has been in repeated legal trouble since pleading guilty to the felony assault in 2009 of his then-girlfriend, Rihanna. He completed his probation in that case in 2015.
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The Mandarin Oriental would not comment on the investigation, and Le Crystal could not immediately be reached. There was no unusual activity outside either site.
Brown could have been brought before a “liberty and detention” judge who would decide whether he should be immediately incarcerated to prevent him from, say, leaving France. “If there is a risk, (that judge) can order immediate incarceration for felony cases, and the maximum duration of that is 12 months,” said French criminal defense lawyer Stéphane Babonneau.
Matthew Galluzzo, a former Manhattan sex-crimes prosecutor who is now a criminal defense attorney in New York, has experience representing clients in France; he said the judge-based French system is significantly different from the American system, where police do most of the investigating of crimes.
“The examining judge is kind of like our grand jury, he does the screening of evidence for a trial just as a grand jury decides whether there’s enough evidence for trial,” says Galluzzo. “He can order witnesses to testify, he can order all sorts of evidence be produced, he can hold hearings, compel witnesses to testify, and ultimately he decides whether a jury will decide (a defendant’s) guilt or innocence.”
Brown and the others were held by judicial police in the city’s 17th arrondissement. The detention was originally reported by French gossip magazine Closer.
Brown won a Grammy Award in 2011 for best R&B album for “F.A.M.E.” and was repeatedly nominated for other works. He is best-known for hits in the 2000s such as “Run It” and “Kiss Kiss.”
He released a new single earlier this month and has a new album coming this year. Six of his albums have gone platinum.
He retains a hard core of fans, including nearly 50 million followers on Instagram. He posted an Instagram photo Monday from Paris appearing to show him at a nightclub, among several recent posts. Followers responded with mixed messages to the rape accusation.
“Dance REHEARSAL! @dancer_boysmith 🔥 got me working IN PARIS…,” one post read.
The Paris accusation is the latest legal trouble for Brown, who was arrested at the end of a concert in West Palm Beach last year to face a felony battery charge involving a nightclub photographer stemming from an altercation in April 2017 in Tampa.
In 2013, Brown was charged with misdemeanor assault after he was accused of striking a man outside a Washington, D.C., hotel. He was ordered into rehab but was dismissed for violating facility rules. Brown spent 2½ months in custody.
After he completed court-ordered anger-management classes, Brown was accused of throwing a brick at his mother’s car following a counseling session.
After Brown posted a picture to his Instagram followers in January 2018 showing his 3-year-old daughter, Royalty, cuddling with a pet monkey, California fish and wildlife agents seized the capuchin monkey named Fiji from his home in Los Angeles.
Brown was later handed a misdemeanor charge for lacking a permit for the primate. He is scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 6 in Los Angeles.