After Chris Brown was charged with two felony counts on Thursday in connection with his alleged assault on girlfriend [artist id=”1940303″]Rihanna[/artist], the next question became “Will Rihanna testify in the case?”
[artist id=”1961441″]Brown[/artist], 19, was charged with assault and making criminal threats, which, if convicted, could land him more than four years in state prison. “The DAs are facing an uphill battle now if Rihanna isn’t cooperating,” Los Angeles defense lawyer and former prosecutor Steve Sitkoff told People magazine on Friday (March 6) about the alleged victim in the case, who reportedly reunited with Brown last weekend at a home owned by Diddy in Miami. “At this point, her cooperation can make or break the case. But the DAs may not need her if Brown is willing to strike a plea deal.”
When asked if the singer is cooperating with the district attorney’s office, Rihanna lawyer Donald Etra told MTV News, “At this point, she is willing to do anything that the law requires her to do. … If subpoenaed, she will testify.” Asked to confirm reports that the couple have reunited since the alleged February 8 incident, Etra said now is “neither the time nor the place to discuss their relationship.”
Experts told People that prosecutors will almost certainly subpoena Rihanna as a witness but that she cannot be threatened with jail time if she refuses to take the stand.
Loyola Law School professor Stan Goldman said the DA’s case could be jeopardized if Rihanna refuses to testify because her statements to police can only be used against him if she agrees to testify. Brown did not enter a plea at his arraignment on Thursday, where his lawyer, Mark Geragos, asked for a continuance in the case, postponing the singer’s arraignment until April 6.
While Etra said Rihanna did not request a “no-contact” order, which would prevent Brown from talking to or spending time with her, the judge in the case did order Brown not to “annoy, harass, molest, threaten or use force or violence against anyone,” which Etra said Rihanna thought was sufficient. He explained that the judge’s order does not prevent the couple from having contact and that it will stay in place until either Brown or Rihanna challenges it.