If Rihanna takes the stand at Chris Brown’s preliminary hearing Monday, it will be her first time publicly talking about what happened the night her boyfriend allegedly attacked her.
The singer could face questioning by Brown’s lawyer, Mark Geragos, about her argument with Brown inside a rented Lamborghini on a Hollywood street last February. Geragos has said he hoped to avoid the spectacle of public testimony, but plea-deal talks failed and California’s Supreme Court last week rejected his request to delay the hearing to decide if the case should go to trial. Brown, 20, entered a “not guilty” plea at an earlier hearing to felony counts of assault and making criminal threats, charges that carry up to four years, eight months in prison if he is convicted. Los Angeles Criminal Court Judge Patricia Schnegg decided against allowing cameras into the courtroom during Rihanna’s testimony, court spokesman Allan Parachini said. At the end of the hearing, which Parachini said could last two or three hours, Judge Schnegg will decide whether there is enough evidence to send the case against Brown to trial. Rihanna — whose full name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty — cleared her schedule so she could be in court if prosecutors call her as a witness, her lawyer, Donald Etra, said last month. Prosecutors told him they would call her, Etra said.
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She has not attended any of the hearings, but she has been following the case closely, he said. Rihanna’s testimony could reveal her current feelings about Brown, with whom she was in a relationship for more than a year before the February 8, 2009, incident. Her lawyer told the judge at Brown’s first hearing four months ago that she did not want his bond to bar him from having contact with her. “Rihanna requested that no such order be issued,” Etra said. Rihanna did not file a complaint against Brown, but the prosecution’s case is built on what she told detectives and on physical evidence they collected from her — including photographs of her bruised and battered face. It was not Rihanna who called police, but someone who heard her screams for help, according to a sworn statement by Los Angeles Police Detective DeShon Andrews. The statement, filed with the court to support a search warrant for cell phone records, described a brutal attack against Rihanna allegedly by Brown. Andrews said the incident began when Rihanna, who was riding in the sports car driven by Brown, found a text message on his cell phone from “a woman who Brown had a previous sexual relationship with.” “A verbal argument ensued and Brown pulled the vehicle over on an unknown street, reached over Robyn F. with his right hand, opened the car door and attempted to force her out. Brown was unable to force Robyn F. out of the vehicle because she was wearing a seat belt. When he could not force her to exit, he took his right hand and shoved her head against the passenger window of the vehicle, causing an approximate one-inch raised circular contusion,” the statement said. “Robyn F. turned to face Brown and he punched her in the left eye with his right hand. He then drove away in the vehicle and continued to punch her in the face with his right hand while steering the vehicle with his left hand. The assault caused Robyn F.’s mouth to fill with blood and blood to splatter all over her clothing and the interior of the vehicle,” the statement continued. “Brown looked at Robyn F. and stated, ‘I’m going to beat the s–t out of you when we get home! You wait and see!'” The detective said “Robyn F.” then used her cell phone to call her personal assistant Jennifer Rosales, who did not answer. The statement continued: “Robyn F. pretended to talk to her and stated, ‘I’m on my way home. Make sure the police are there when I get there.’ “After Robyn F. faked the call, Brown looked at her and stated, ‘You just did the stupidest thing ever! Now I’m really going to kill you!’ “Brown resumed punching Robyn F. and she interlocked her fingers behind her head and brought her elbows forward to protect her face. She then bent over at the waist, placing her elbows and face near her lap in [an] attempt to protect her face and head from the barrage of punches being levied upon her by Brown. “Brown continued to punch Robyn F. on her left arm and hand, causing her to suffer a contusion on her left triceps (sic) that was approximately two inches in diameter and numerous contusions on her left hand. “Robyn F. then attempted to send a text message to her other personal assistant, Melissa Ford. Brown snatched the cellular telephone out of her hand and threw it out of the window onto an unknown street. “Brown continued driving and Robyn F. observed his cellular telephone sitting in his lap. She picked up the cellular telephone with her left hand and before she could make a call he placed her in a head lock with his right hand and continued to drive the vehicle with his left hand. “Brown pulled Robyn F. close to him and bit her on her left ear. She was able to feel the vehicle swerving from right to left as Brown sped away. He stopped the vehicle in front of 333 North June Street and Robyn F. turned off the car, removed the key from the ignition and sat on it. “Brown did not know what she did with the key and began punching her in the face and arms. He then placed her in a head lock positioning the front of her throat between his bicep and forearm. Brown began applying pressure to Robyn F.’s left and right carotid arteries, causing her to be unable to breathe and she began to lose consciousness. “She reached up with her left hand and began attempting to gouge his eyes in an attempt to free herself. Brown bit her left ring and middle fingers and then released her. While Brown continued to punch her, she turned around and placed her back against the passenger door. She brought her knees to her chest, placed her feet against Brown’s body and began pushing him away. Brown continued to punch her on the legs and feet, causing several contusions. “Robyn F. began screaming for help and Brown exited the vehicle and walked away. A resident in the neighborhood heard Robyn F.’s plea for help and called 911, causing a police response. An investigation was conducted and Robyn F. was issued a Domestic Violence Emergency Protective Order.” At the end of his statement, the detective said Brown sent a text message nine days later apologizing. “In the text message, Brown apologized for what he had done to Robyn F. and advised [Rihanna’s assistant] Ford that he was going to get help,” Andrews wrote. Brown issued a public apology for the incident just days after his arrest. “Words cannot begin to express how sorry and saddened I am over what transpired,” he said in a statement released by his spokesman. “I am seeking the counseling of my pastor, my mother and other loved ones and I am committed, with God’s help, to emerging a better person.”