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Chris Brown allowed near Rihanna, 2 years after attack

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(Reuters) - A court order was lifted on Tuesday that had prevented R&B singer Chris Brown from coming into close contact with his ex-girlfriend Rihanna since a violent altercation two years ago.

Los Angeles Superior Court judge Patricia Schnegg downgraded the stay-away order that said Brown, 21, must stay 50 yards away from Rihanna, or 10 yards at entertainment industry events.

Schnegg replaced it with a less stringent order that bars Brown from harassing or annoying Rihanna, but allows him to speak to her.

Rihanna was not in court but her lawyer said that the "Rude Boy" and "Umbrella" singer had no objection to the change.

Brown, 21, who did attend Tuesday's brief hearing, pleaded guilty in 2009 to assaulting Rihanna on the eve of the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. He was sentenced to five years probation and community service and recently completed a year-long domestic violence course.

Brown last week skipped the music industry's Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, despite being nominated for three honors. Rihanna performed on the show but failed to win any of the four awards for which she was nominated.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

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