After Chis Brown pled not guilty to assaulting Rihanna in a Los Angeles courtroom Monday, Rihanna's attorney said something peculiar: The apparent victim of Brown's attack would like to bring the case to a rapid conclusion.
"She would be pleased if this was over quickly," attorney Donald Etra said.
That would certainly benefit Brown, whose marketability as a famous R&B singer becomes less recoverable with each additional day the press writes about the violence that erupted between him and Rihanna before the Grammys two months ago.
But why would Rihanna, herself a vocalist with a devoted following, want to publicly help Brown escape the full consequences of his actions? Doing so opens her to charges she's helping enable Brown's abuse, and to speculation that she's as culpable in the attack as the pro-Brown PR campaign would have everyone believe.
Maybe Rihanna's team is worried that a lengthy, heavily-publicized he-said/she-said in court carries nearly as much risk for Rihanna as it does for Brown. It's hard, after all, to imagine Brown's reputation falling much further than where it was right after pictures of Rihanna's bruised face leaked online. Rihanna has more to lose. The singer has made conspicuous public appearances with other men in recent weeks, and will have trouble looking as independent and "over" Brown if she ends up spending months arguing with him in court over the specifics of what happened.
In all likelihood, Brown will take the plea deal everyone is buzzing about and Rihanna avoids talking about or being seen with him ever again. Brown accepts that the incident will retard his career; Rihanna will finally be able put the ordeal behind her — to the greatest extent possible, at least.