February 04, 2004 11:23 AM

The preliminary hearing for singer Bobby Brown, who faces charges stemming from a fight with wife Whitney Houston, has been postponed until May 5, a Fulton County, Ga., court clerk tells the Associated Press.

There’s no word on why the hearing, originally scheduled for Wednesday, has been delayed.

Brown, 34, is charged with battery following an alleged fight last December with Houston, 40, whom Brown allegedly hit in the face. According to reports, police responded to a call by Houston to the couple’s suburban Atlanta home, and Houston told police that Brown struck her on the left side of her face with an open right hand.

“It was a verbal confrontation which escalated to a physical confrontation,” police spokesman Kurtis Young told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, though he would not provide details on the cause of the argument. The officer responding to the call saw bruises on Houston’s cheek and inside her upper lip.

Young said that by the time officers arrived at the home, Brown had left for the airport to catch a flight to California, AP reported. He later surrendered to authorities to face charges filed by police, as Houston reportedly has not filed charges against her husband.

Houston and Brown, married since 1992, have a 10-year-old daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown. Bobby Brown has a history of legal and drug problems. Last August he was fined for traffic and drug offenses only hours after an early release from jail.

After serving half of a 14-day sentence for violating probation from a previous drunken-driving conviction, Brown was then fined for possessing 28 grams of marijuana, speeding and driving with no license or proof of insurance.

In 2000, Brown served 26 days in a Florida jail for an earlier probation violation. In the same year he pleaded “no contest” to charges of assaulting a hotel security guard in West Hollywood.

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