Rihanna Set to Break Silence in Chris Brown Case
06/22/2009 AT 01:40 PM EDT
Subpoenaed by prosecutors, the singer, 21, entered a Los Angeles courthouse for a hearing Monday in which she's been called to testify against Chris Brown, 20.
Emotions will likely run high as Rihanna relives the events of Feb. 8 when she was allegedly bruised and bloodied by Brown, who also entered the courthouse and will be seated just feet away from the witness stand. Cameras won't be allowed in the courtroom.
"Prosecutors wouldn't bring her in to testify if they didn't think she was going to be a solid witness," says L.A. criminal defense attorney Steve Sitkoff, who's not involved with the case. "If Rihanna was going to change her story out of fear or to protect Brown, it generally would've happened by now."
Rihanna, whose attorney Donald Etra has insisted she will comply and tell the truth, will also be subject to cross-examination by Brown's attorney, Mark Geragos.
"I expect Geragos will go easy on her under cross-examination," says L.A. criminal defense attorney Jeffery Rubenstein, who's also not involved with the case. "No lawyer wants to be seen as victimizing a victim twice. But if he does play hardball, he'll do whatever he can to chip away at her credibility."
Experts say her performance at the hearing – held to determine if there's enough evidence for a trial against Brown – can make or break the case.
If she comes across as a reliable witness, it could pressure Brown to accept a plea deal with some jail time, thus avoiding a trial. If she seems untruthful and prosecutors fail to present a case, Geragos could seek to reduce Brown's two felony charges or have them dismissed on the spot.