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Bobby Brown Gets Choice: Child Support or Jail

A family court judge ordered R&B singer Bobby Brown jailed for 90 days or until he pays $63,500 in child support he owes the mother of two children he fathered.

Brown, released from a Georgia jail early so he could attend the contempt hearing, cried as he was led from the courtroom. He was to be jailed in the Norfolk County House of Correction (search).

Judge Paula Carey issued the ruling after Brown, husband of singer Whitney Houston (search), testified that he was unable to pay support he owes for children, now 12 and 14, that he fathered with Kim Ward, of Stoughton.

Brown, a Roxbury native, was released Monday, three days early, from the Georgia jail where he had been serving a 60-day sentence on a probation violation stemming from a drunk driving charge.

Brown, 35, also is charged with misdemeanor battery after he allegedly hit Houston, leaving her with a bruised cheek and a cut lip. He is scheduled to appear May 5 in a Fulton County, Ga., court on that charge.

Carey said the financial statement the troubled former pop star provided the court "lacks all credibility," and declined his lawyers' offers to pay $10,000 by the end of Wednesday, an additional $15,000 within 10 days and negotiate the rest.

Brown, who was more than four hours late for the hearing, testified in a hushed voice, telling the judge that he was unable to pay because he had no job and no income.

"I never wanted this to happen," he said.

His attorney, Vincent Dimmock, said although Brown had been a successful pop singer in the 1980s and early 1990s, he has "been nowhere near that in recent years."

Brown said he planned to have an album out within 30 days and begin production of a movie in Los Angeles. But after the judge was told Brown had not received an advance for the album, Carey said "I don't find it credible that no money has been advanced at all."

Ward's attorney, Linda Medonis, said her client sought the money only on her children's behalf.

Brown left R&B group New Edition (search) in the late 1980s for a solo career. His hits include "My Prerogative" and "Every Little Step," but he has become more famous for his numerous brushes with the law and his turbulent marriage with Houston. The couple lives in the Atlanta area.

Houston, who recently checked herself into a drug rehabilitation center, did not attend Wednesday's hearing.