The April 6th appearance of Chris Brown in a Los Angeles courtroom to enter a plea provided us with a rare moment of hearing the truth--not from him, but from the mouths of the singers' fans. Brown pleaded not guilty to two felony charges of assault and making criminal threats. Well, anyone with two eyes who saw the leaked photo of Rihanna after the "alleged incident" knows better.
Those who have read the graphic details in a search warrant affidavit filed by the Los Angeles Police Department know it was a violent attack, with a victim and a perpetrator. The account describes Brown punching, choking and biting Rihanna while she tried to block Chris' blows with her legs and arms.
It was totally refreshing to read the comments from the performer's peers who basically said: the emperor has no clothes on. The bare truth has been visible, and they're wondering why Brown doesn't simply admit the truth. "I think he should [plead guilty]," Brandi Crosmer told MTV News. "You should take responsibility for your actions."
Chris has chosen to say "not guilty" to buy more time to work out a plea bargain. If he is convicted as charged, he's up for a maximum of five years in prison. Also, with a felony on his record, his passport and right to travel could be impacted and might prevent him from putting on concerts internationally. So even though teenagers get the moral concept of admitting that you've messed up and making amends, the legal shenanigans continue. There's a lot of gamesmanship involved in plea bargaining, as both high-priced lawyers and their clients continue to negotiate.
Behind all the posturing and posing of both Chris and Rihanna--yes she will/no she won't testify, yes he's sorry/no it's her fault--are some basic economic realities. This whole "incident" is giving them both a lot of bad press and will undoubtedly hurt their wallets as fans back off from supporting them. So Rihanna, who has been pressured to be a role model and stand up for victims of domestic violence, is reluctant to testify. What "cover girl" wants her name linked to the dirty secret of domestic violence? What had she done to "provoke" the beating she received from Chris? What dirty laundry would be aired? Rihanna wants it all to go away as quickly as he does.
Rihanna's lawyer, Donald Etra, showed up in court to say Rihanna sees no need for the restrictive restraining order that bans Brown from any contact with her. He also said Rihanna was willing to testify against Brown, but hoped that a deal would be reached before trial so "she can get back to her life and her career. She would be pleased if this is over quickly." No doubt.
Now they have till April 29th (when the court will set a date for a preliminary hearing) to keep working behind the scenes to come up with a palatable solution for both singers--one that will satisfy enough of their fans to keep them viable in the marketplace while seeming to satisfy the law as well. Many of those in their age group watching the case feel strongly that Brown should serve some time for what he did. They're quite sure that just because he's famous, he shouldn't get away with it. They wonder why he won't "man up" to what he did.
One young fan, Athena Reich, was quoted by MTV as saying: "It would be better if he could just be honest. My gut reaction is that it's kind of sad that people can't be honest." Point well taken.