MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — While prosecutors in Miami continue to investigate a woman’s claims that R&B singer Chris Brown stole her iPhone, the release of Brown’s new album “Fortune” has been pushed back to May 8 from its initial debut of March 16.
Brown announced the delay on Twitter last Wednesday by tweeting: “FORTUNE! May 8th!!! I hope this album shows growth and positivity to all my fans and will inspire them to live life to the fullest!!! #FORTUNE.”
Is this an executive decision by his producers, a delay to coincide with Brown’s 23rd birthday, or a deliberate action in light of probable criminal charges for stealing a fan’s cell phone in a fit of rage?
According to Brown, “The reason for may 8th is so you (the fans) can have more music to make ur decision on if u want.”
In a story broken by Gossip Extra, and previously reported by KSL, Brown is being investigated for robbery after allegedly snatching a fan’s iPhone outside a popular Miami Beach nightclub last month.
According to the police report, Christal Shanne Spann, 24, of Miami, was inside the Cameo nightclub on February 19 when she spotted Brown and rapper Tyga exiting a side door. After Spann and her friends followed them outside, she took a photo of Brown in his Bentley with her white iPhone 4s.
Brown allegedly rolled down his car window, grabbed Spann’s iPhone, and yelled “Bitch, you ain’t going to put that on no website.” He then allegedly rolled up the window and drove away with Spann’s phone, worth about $500, according to the report.
Brown is currently serving five years felony probation in Los Angeles for the 2009 beating of ex-girlfriend Rihanna. He unsuccessfully sought an early termination of his supervision on February 10 through attorney Mark Geragos, citing “good behavior.”
According to Gossip Extra, police and prosecutors have been dragging their feet on an arrest of Brown. “Privately, the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s office and Miami Beach Police are claiming the fact that Brown is not in custody is the other’s fault.
Both claim that the other is afraid of Brown’s fame.”
Prosecutors, on the other hand, argue that that a complete reinvestigation of the facts is required prior to the possible issuance of an arrest warrant for Brown.
“In the search for truth and a potentially workable case, our office will not be hurried in the investigation of Chris Brown,” Ed Griffith, a spokesman for Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle told KSL. “When all the witnesses have been interviewed, a decision will be made on any action to be taken.”
Being investigated by authorities as a “Robbery by Sudden Snatching, the offense is a third degree felony in the state of Florida. If charged in the Spann case, Brown faces up to five years in state prison.
According to the Miami-Dade County Corrections and Rehabilitation Department, a standard bond of $5,000 would be set upon an arrest of Brown. Absent a probation violation detainer, he would be released from jail to answer authorities in Los Angeles.
A conviction on probation violation charges could net an additional four years prison in California.
“The Dade State Attorney’s office is not ‘thorough’ when it rushes to judgment on the average defendant,” said John Contini, a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney and author of several real-life crime dramas including Danger Road and Feeling the Heat. “They only slow down, dot the ‘I’s’ and cross the ‘T’s’ and get ‘thorough’ when they have a celebrity in the mix and they know the world’s watching.”
Contradicting popular opinion on the delay in prosecuting Brown, “The Miami Beach Police had the power to make an arrest at the scene,” concluded Griffith. “Once they sent the case us, it brought a whole new perspective. Our desire for information requires a full and complete re-investigation of the matter.”
“I agree that a full investigation must be conducted prior to making a decision in this case,” stated Jim Lewis, a former prosecutor and Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney most noted for his defense in the Lionel Tate case. “Brown can be sent to prison simply on an accusation of robbery in California. He deserves the full protections afforded each and every person accused of a crime.”
Despite several phone messages left for Brown’s criminal defense attorney, Mark Geragos, he has not responded for comment.