There have been leaked photos and information from the police report, but the first major details stemming from [artist id="1961441"]Chris Brown’s[/artist] alleged assault of [artist id="1940303"]Rihanna[/artist] back in February may be made public for the first time Monday afternoon (June 22).
That’s when Rihanna is scheduled to take the stand during Brown’s preliminary hearing. Brown is facing felony charges of assault and making criminal threats. The charges are a result of an incident that allegedly happened on the eve of the Grammy Awards between Brown and Rihanna; the two were dating at the time, and Rihanna reportedly suffered injuries from the altercation.
So what will happen for the former couple at the hearing?
Brown is expected to invoke his Fifth amendment rights and not testify, according to legal experts who spoke to MTV News.
Rihanna, on the other hand, has been subpoenaed by the prosecution and is likely to be questioned about the events of that night.
A photo of Rihanna after the alleged altercation revealing multiple scratches and contusions on the singer’s face was posted on TMZ.com shortly after the incident. A Los Angeles Police Department report revealed that Brown allegedly bit Rihanna and threatened to “kill her” after she made a phone call during the melee. And Rihanna’s reported trip to the hospital following the incident led to speculation that the singer was punched by Brown during an attack.
All of that information could be used by the prosecution to make their case that there is enough evidence present to take Brown’s case to trial, according to Peter T. Haven, a legal expert based in Los Angeles who worked on O.J. Simpson’s controversial book “If I Did It.”
“During the preliminary, which is significant, the prosecution puts the case in front of the judge to convince the judge that they have sufficient evidence to go forward with a criminal prosecution,” Haven explained to MTV News. “The defense then tries to kill the case. [But] if there’s enough evidence, the prosecution could then get a trial date.”
Haven called the process a “speed bump,” essentially. From what has reportedly been gathered, Haven said it “sounds like the prosecution thinks it has serious evidence for a fairly serious crime, and they aren’t backing down.” That could explain why a plea deal has yet to be reached between the two sides, he speculated.
Previously, it had been reported that Brown’s legal team and the state were working furiously to reach an agreement . It’s unlikely at this point that the two sides will reach a plea deal before Brown’s preliminary hearing, according to Haven. After the hearing, however, there will still be time for a plea deal to be reached.
If the judge in the case, Patricia Schnegg, rules that the next step in the process is a trial by jury, then Brown will likely have 30 days before he will be arraigned again. During his second arraignment, some of the charges may be altered or dropped, Haven suggested. During that process, Brown will be “held to answer,” meaning he would be required to enter a plea once more; Brown pleaded not guilty when he was first arraigned.
Barring any surprises, once Rihanna testifies Monday, Brown’s attorney Mark Geragos may question the singer. It’s more likely, though, that police will be called to testify. According to Haven, police may be asked questions by the prosecution to corroborate either Rihanna’s testimony or information found in the police report.
Although Haven has not had access to the evidence, from what has been presented so far in the case, the lawyer said he predicts the prosecution’s challenge will be a “fairly easy burden” to prove.
It was reported last week that Judge Schnegg has barred video cameras from the courtroom during the testimony. Media will still be allowed to attend the hearing, however. The hearing will be the third time Brown and Rihanna have reportedly been in the same building since the incident; the first was when they briefly reconciled at a Miami mansion owned by Diddy, then the two separately attended an NBA Finals game last week.
“There’s an eagerness to see what’s there,” Haven said of the preliminary hearing. “It’s the first chance for people to get a sense of what evidence the prosecution has. There will be some attention afterward. You have to expect it when someone suggests a violent crime has been committed.”