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Chris Brown pleads not guilty to assaulting Rihanna

April 6, 2009 |  3:55 pm

R&B singer Chris Brown today pleaded not guilty to a felony charge that he bit, punched, choked and threatened his pop star girlfriend,Rihanna.

A judge set a hearing for April 29, when a preliminary hearing could be scheduled.

Nearly 100 media representatives jammed the downtown courthouse entrance as Brown came through about 3:30. Deputies shielded Brown and escorted him to a freight elevator.

All available L.A. County Sheriff's deputies were summoned to the area. Although Rihanna's attorney was in court, the pop star did not attend the hearing.

Last month, a judge ordered Brown not to "annoy, harass, molest, threaten or use force or violence against anyone."

Brown faces a maximum sentence of nearly five years in prison if convicted of charges in connection with the Feb. 8 incident, which, according to police, left Rihanna’s blood splattered all over the Lamborghini he was driving.

--Harriet Ryan and Richard Winton