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The Case against Chris Brown; Charity Work; Dora Controversy; Chris Brown Outrage; Backlash for Rihanna; Making it Work

Aired March 6, 2009 - 23:00:00   ET


A.J. HAMMER, HOST: Now on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT -- the Chris Brown/Rihanna bombshell. Chris shows up in court. Tonight, the case against Chris.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Brown seemed cool, calm, and collected in court. It was amazing. You would not think this guy was going in to be charged with two felonies.

HAMMER: Does Rihanna have to testify? How strong is the other evidence? Will there be a trial or will he cut a deal?

Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has all the late-breaking developments.

Outrage over the Chris Brown/Rihanna drama. Is Brown already guilty in the public eye? And what about Rihanna? Why would she go back to the man who allegedly beat her up? Is it unfair to even criticize her?

Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has the provocative questions, the disturbing answers.

Plus, Mr. Pitt goes to Washington. Brad Pitt brings a heaping help of Hollywood glamour to Capitol Hill. TV`s most provocative entertainment news show starts right now.

HAMMER: Hello, I`m A.J. Hammer broadcasting tonight and every night from New York City. Tonight the case against Chris. This story is more troubling by the minute. Chris Brown faces two felony charges over the alleged attack on Rihanna. And now SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you new details about the evidence against him.

The disturbing claims directly from police documents that the alleged attack on Rihanna was even more brutal than originally suspected. But if Rihanna does not testify, is the case against Chris too weak to make it to trial? Will Chris agree to a plea deal? The explosive case against Chris Brown is making big news right now.


HAMMER (voice-over): For singer Chris Brown, it`s time to face the music.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The People versus Christopher Brown.

HAMMER: He showed up in a Los Angeles court to deal with the two felony charges he faces for his alleged attack on his girlfriend Rihanna.

ALICIA QUARLES, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: Brown seemed cool, calm, and collected in court. It was amazing. You would not think this guy was going in to be charged with two felonies.

HAMMER: Cool and collected is right. Brown didn`t have much to say when the judge pushed back the arraignment at the request of his attorney.


HAMMER: And Brown barely batted an eye when the judge sent him off with these chilling final instructions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Brown, you are ordered not to annoy, harass, molest, threaten or use force and violence against anyone.

HAMMER: But as Brown prepares to face charges that carry a maximum prison sentence of four years and with reports that the two superstars are actually back together, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you one question is rising above all others -- will Rihanna actually try to help Chris Brown escape punishment for allegedly attacking her?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t think Rihanna is going to aid in any way to punish this guy.

HAMMER: Brown`s court appearance comes as we are finding out horrifying details about the alleged attack against Rihanna, which took place as the two were driving around Hollywood the night before the Grammys last month.

QUARLES: According to the affidavit the incident started when Rihanna read a text message from someone that Chris was involved with sexually in the past.

HAMMER: Those court documents allege that during the argument, Brown punched Rihanna, shoved her head against a window, bit her, placed her in a headlock, and told her quote, "Now I`m really going to kill you." This photo which TMZ says shows Rihanna just after the horrific beating tells the sad story.

QUARLES: This is shocking. Anybody that has seen the photographs of what he allegedly did to her face as a woman I can`t comprehend how if somebody did that to me I would want them back in my life.

HAMMER: But Alicia Quarles of The Associated Press tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT reports are Brown is indeed back in Rihanna`s life.

QUARLES: Rihanna and Chris Brown were reportedly at Diddy`s house in Miami. By all accounts, Chris Brown and Rihanna are trying to work things out, which is shocking to many.

HAMMER: That certainly would explain the two shocking events we saw in Chris Brown`s court appearance. The first, Rihanna`s attorney actually asked the judge not to order Brown to stay away from her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your honor, Ms. Fenty (ph) does not request that type of order.

HAMMER: And the second shocker happened after the hearing had ended. You can overhear Rihanna`s own attorney actually reassuring the man accused of beating her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that Rihanna would like this over as quickly as possible as well. It benefits everybody.

HARVEY LEVIN, TMZ: This just smells like they`re trying to get a plea-bargain in this case. That, you know the last thing Chris Brown wants, I think is a trial.

HAMMER: But if there is a trial, will Rihanna actually testify against Brown? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT contacted her attorney who told us quote, "If subpoenaed, my client will answer all questions that are asked of her." But judging by what we saw in court.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that Rihanna would like this over as quickly as possible as well.

HAMMER: No one thinks Rihanna is eager to see Brown punished. Prosecutors however might be a different story.

LEVIN: Would it be helpful if Rihanna testified and backed up what she said at the scene, sure. Can they do it without her? Yes.

HAMMER: Harvey Levin, TMZ`s managing editor and a former attorney himself tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT prosecutors can move against Brown with or without Rihanna`s help.

LEVIN: Half the case is the D.A. tries involving domestic violence. They -- that involves women who have either recanted their story or gone back to their alleged abuser. The D.A. is used to prosecuting cases like this in L.A. County. There are all sorts of ways of dealing with it.

HAMMER: But for now, Brown`s legal future is an open question as is apparently the relationship between two of music`s biggest stars.

QUARLES: It will be interesting if she is going to be there to stand by her man.


HAMMER: So that`s the big question -- will she or won`t she? Rihanna`s attorney has said clearly that Rihanna will take the stand if she is legally required to do so. But without her is the case against Chris just a huge uphill legal battle.

Joining me tonight in Hollywood is Carlos Diaz, who is a correspondent for "EXTRA" and in New York is attorney Midwin Charles and there you have it. We laid out the case as we know it. The police affidavit revealing those gory details of what apparently happened that night. There`s that graphic photo.

And I am betting there is plenty more evidence that we have yet to see. Carlos, based on what we have seen so far are you getting the impression that this case could fly even if Rihanna does not testify?

CARLOS DIAZ, CORRESPONDENT, "EXTRA": Well, why are we talking about that though, A.J., because she says she will if she is called. So, I mean of course the prosecution, of course the state is going to call her because she has the damning evidence of her testimony. Now let`s get one thing straight.

This would be a slam dunk with all the evidence they have if the state and Rihanna were going against Chris Brown. If the state is going against Chris Brown and Rihanna who seem to be on the same team right now it is still something -- you know it`s still a tossup. But Rihanna`s lawyer said today she will testify if called, so.

HAMMER: Yeah, but let`s get a reality check on that, Carlos.

DIAZ: Yeah.

HAMMER: She said if she is subpoenaed, so legally required to testify she will. Midwin Charles, you are an attorney. What is the story here? How likely is it that she can be legally required to take the stand? Because I have heard in the cases of domestic violence they cannot require you to do that legally?

MIDWIN CHARLES, ATTORNEY: That`s right. I mean in this particular case she is not just the witness. She is actually the victim. In other words, the person whom Chris Brown is accused of harming is Rihanna. And you have laws that are built in place to protect victims that their identity not be released and if their identity is released they are not forced to kind of be on the stand and testify against their accuser.

Now on the other hand, Chris Brown does have a Sixth Amendment right to face his accuser and what have you. But she cannot be forced to testify in this case. Nonetheless, the case against him is really good, even without Rihanna.

HAMMER: So let me ask you this, again to my point, because I`m just trying to boil it down to what is the likelihood that she will -- it will be legally incumbent upon her to testify?

CHARLES: It is low. It`s really, really low.


CHARLES: Because she is the victim here and under California state law, I believe, victims of domestic violence cannot be forced to testify because they have a privacy right.

HAMMER: OK. OK. I just want to make sure because I think everything is getting caught up in the language with her lawyers now saying yeah, if she is legally required to do that she will do that. But you are saying that chance is low.

CHARLES: She can refuse.

HAMMER: Right.

CHARLES: . is what I am saying.


CHARLES: . and not face ramifications.

HAMMER: Got it. Last night on "LARRY KING LIVE" TV Judge Jeanine Pirro appeared and she said that even without Rihanna`s testimony the state does have a very strong case against Brown and prosecutors should not make a plea deal. Let`s listen to Jeanine Pirro.


JEANINE PIRRO, TV COURT JUDGE: It`s the people of the state of California, not Rihanna against Chris Brown, but the people and they don`t need her. They have got the evidence and the fact that they went forward after they got back together tells me the D.A. is confident. And the D.A. should not take a plea-bargain.


HAMMER: All right, so there you have it. Jeanine Pirro convinced that the D.A. does have a very strong case. The L.A. courts, Carlos, you and I both know this.

DIAZ: Right.

HAMMER: They are really skittish about these high profile celebrity cases.

DIAZ: Sure.

HAMMER: Do you think a plea deal then would just send the wrong message in so many ways?

DIAZ: Yeah, I think it would and I tell you what, you know the state and the prosecutors have hand in this because of the fact that every day that Chris Brown is on trial for this, every day that we wait until April 6th and then every day that we wait for the next court date, Chris Brown is guilty in the public eye.

And his people know that. So it is to the state`s advantage to prolong this. And they know that they have got that on their side. People think he is guilty until he is found innocent, which is wrong.

HAMMER: Which is exactly, exactly why I was surprised they wanted a continuance and they wanted to postpone the arraignment until April.

DIAZ: Right.

HAMMER: I know there is some legal wrangling that is beyond what I`m going to get into right now, but the fact that we are here with these documents to extrapolate this and talk about this and analyze it every day.

DIAZ: Right.

HAMMER: . and I got to tell you when I first read the details in the police affidavit detailing the night Chris Brown allegedly attacked Rihanna, I was astonished. I`m going to read some more for you right here.

"Brown pulled Robyn F. close to him and bit her on her left ear. She was able to feel the vehicle swerving from right to left as Brown sped away. He then placed her in a head lock positioning the front of her throat between his bicep and forearm. Brown began applying pressure to Robyn F.`s left and right carotid arteries, causing her to be unable to breathe and she began to lose consciousness. She reached up with her left hand and began attempting to gouge his eyes in an attempt to free herself."

I get out of breath just reading this thing. Midwin, if Rihanna does not testify, prosecutors cannot use the contents of this affidavit which obviously we`re listening to the words, so strong. Will that make the conviction a huge uphill battle?

CHARLES: It won`t. It won`t. Because there are so many other people that you can call to the stand who were on scene the night that it happened. The police officer who actually wrote down this affidavit and interviewed her could take the stand. He might not be able to testify as to exactly what she told him. But he could testify as to what he saw that day, what was his impression, what were his observations. Whoever treated Rihanna, a hospital, an EMT person, they could testify. There are so many different ways you can bring in evidence. It doesn`t have to be directly from the person who was the victim here.

HAMMER: Got it. Got it. All right. Yeah, still so much to learn in this case. And if there are some witnesses out there I`m sure we`ll be hearing about that soon too. Midwin Charles, Carlos Diaz, I thank you both.

CHARLES: Thank you.

HAMMER: Now let me turn this over to you. Here`s our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. Chris Brown, Rihanna drama, should Brown be forced to stand trial? You can vote at Got more to say -- well e-mail us at

And as I said, we have much more to talk about tonight. There is absolute outrage over the Chris Brown/Rihanna drama. Is Chris Brown already guilty in the eyes of the public? And why would Rihanna go back to him? And is it fair to criticize her for trying to work things out? We have the great debate coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

We will also have this.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: It really is an honor to have him here and I know for some of my staff and for bragging rights to my children and my grandchildren, a real treat for me as well.


HAMMER: Look at the House Speaker smiling. Mr. Pitt goes to Washington. Yes, Brad Pitt heads to Capitol Hill and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi just gushes about his visit. But wait -- what the heck is this all about? We`ll fill you in.

And Jason and Molly speak out. How will "The Bachelor" and his new girlfriend make their relationship work? Of course he dumped his fiancee on national TV for Molly, so what is next for this twosome?


And now, the "SHOWBIZ News Ticker", more stories from the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom making news right now.

(CAPTION READS: Bruce Willis countersues production co. over backing out of movie project. Coolio arrested for possession of crack cocaine.)


HAMMER: Did you see this? First lady Michelle Obama and Sasha and Malia trying out the new White House swing set. President Obama and first lady surprised the girls with this new swing set, which I think looks pretty cool. It was all set up when they got home from school. It was pretty cold in Washington, but that didn`t stop the girls from playing on the swing set for almost an hour.

Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

And tonight, Mr. Pitt goes to Washington. Yes, Brad Pitt was on Capitol Hill meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about his charity that is helping rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Here now is CNN`s Zain Verjee for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


ZAIN VERJEE, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): And the nominee for movie star lobbyist of the week, Brad Pitt.

BRAD PITT, MOVIE STAR: Thank you to the speaker for opening up the doors for us to come in and discuss the rebuilding effort, the current rebuilding effort going on in New Orleans and how we can expand this idea of affordability and sustainability because we think we have a model that works.

VERJEE: Speaker Pelosi complimented his work and gushed.

PELOSI: It really is an honor to have him here. And I know for some of my staff and for bragging rights to my children and my grandchildren, a real treat for me as well.

VERJEE: He also made a guest star appearance at the White House. For a long time actors and politics have gone hand in hand, Bono and debt relief in Africa, George Clooney just at the White House urging action on Sudan, Angelina Jolie testified on the Hill on the Darfur crisis. She is shooting a movie in Washington, D.C. right now and leaving the rounds to Brad.


HAMMER: All right, that was CNN`s Zain Verjee for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Well the "Showbiz on Call" phone lines continue to ring with fired up SHOWBIZ TONIGHT viewers calling in from coast-to-coast. Here now the buzz from the "Showbiz on Call" phone lines on Rihanna, the octumom, and first lady Michelle Obama.


SHEILA, CALLER FROM GEORGIA: My name is Sheila from Georgia. I watch your show every night. Speaking on Rihanna and Chris Brown. They`re young. They`re in love. He made a mistake. He wants to make up. People can be forgiven. People can change. They`re young and a little foolish right now.

HEIDI, CALLER FROM VIRGINIA: Hi, my name is Heidi and I`m from Virginia from the area that Chris Brown is from. It is a horrific message that is being sent to women and to young women, in particular that it is OK to be involved in an abusive relationship.

JOANNA, CALLER FROM MODESTO: Joanna from Modesto, ladies, ladies, ladies, do not go to another Rihanna concert. Boycott if you will. We do not want to see another Ike and Tina Turner. Enough is enough.

ABBY, CALLER FROM INDIANA: Hi, my name is Abby from Indiana. And I have a comment about the octumom. I just think she is being really selfish and I think that yes, people should give her a handout with the babies as far as somewhere to live that is appropriate for them. But I don`t think that they should take care of her for the rest of her life.

LOUISE, CALLER FROM CALIFORNIA: My name is Louise from California. And they just, you know they just need to take all them babies away from her so she can get her head right because she`s crazy.

DAVID, CALLER FROM PENNSYLVANIA: This is David from Pennsylvania. I think they should just leave octumom alone and let her deal with her own problems herself.

ELIZABETH, CALLER FROM IOWA: Hi, this is Elizabeth and I`m calling from Iowa. And I wanted to respond to the comments regarding Michelle Obama. I think it is really a lack of professionalism and seriousness for her to wear inappropriate dress in a business setting.

ERNESTINE, CALLER FROM TENNESSEE: My name is Ernestine. I`m from Nashville, Tennessee. Why are people so outraged about the way Ms. Obama dresses? They are just jealous because they don`t have her physique. She is well-toned and they`re jealous.


HAMMER: We thank you for your calls one and all. Remember the "Showbiz on Call" phone lines are always open. We want you to let us know what is on your mind. The number, 1-888-SBT-BUZZ, 1-888-728-2899. Leave us a voicemail so we can play your call right here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Coming up -- outrage over the Chris Brown/Rihanna drama.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This appearance fully protected Rihanna`s rights. And what she really wants to convey is her appreciation to her friends, her followers, her family, the people who support her.


HAMMER: Is Chris Brown already guilty in the public eye? Why would Rihanna go back to the man who allegedly beat her up? And is it unfair to even criticize her? The provocative questions and the disturbing answers are coming up.

Also, Jason and Molly speak out. How will "The Bachelor" and his new girlfriend make their relationship work? Of course he dumped his fiancee on national TV for Molly, so what`s next for this twosome?

And why did Disney star Zac Efron`s mom give him condoms for Christmas? Wait until you hear the story behind that unusual stocking stuffer. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

Now the "SHOWBIZ News Ticker", more stories from the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom making news right now.

(CAPTION READS: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame plans to unveil Bruce Springsteen exhibit on April 1st. TBS cancels Frank Caliendo`s sketch comedy series, "Frank TV".)


HAMMER: For the first time in nine years, Oprah Winfrey is sharing the cover of "O" magazine. The April issue of "O" features Oprah with first lady Michelle Obama.

Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Controversy tonight over "Dora the Explorer". Yes, Dora is getting a makeover. And some parents are not happy at all about it. Here is CNN`s Carol Costello for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.



CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): "Dora the Explorer" is beloved by the preschool set.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She goes on adventures.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She goes on adventures?

COSTELLO: Yes, Mercy (ph) also loves her Dora game.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s a long path.

COSTELLO: Her Dora dolls and can`t get enough of Dora`s TV show.


COSTELLO: Dora is so widely admired for her spunk, her curiosity and her intellect Dora`s TV show won an NAACP image award. Mercy`s (ph) mom heartily approves.

GINGER DEARWENT, MOTHER OF "DORA" FAN: I think she likes Dora because Dora is a nice little kid. And I like Dora because Dora is bilingual.

COSTELLO: But controversy looms on the "Dora the Explorer" horizon. Mattel plans to unveil a new more grown-up Dora tween doll this fall and gave parents a hint at what she will look like in a press release. A silhouette with long flowing hair and long legs.

Mattel also says teen Dora has moved to the big city and has a new fashionable look, but worries some bloggers who say Dora will soon be "bratzed out", sexualized like the Bratz dolls and become obsessed with boys like Barbie. Others are organizing petition drives saying no makeover for Dora. The "St. Petersburg Times" parenting blog "Whoa Momma" is demanding doll maker Mattel listen to their concerns.

SHERRY ROBINSON, "WHOA MOMMA" BLOG: They want a doll that doesn`t just -- isn`t concerned about the physical beauty, you know some of the concerns that folks have always had about Barbie.

COSTELLO: Mattel and Nickelodeon are listening and want to assure parents tween Dora does not remotely resemble Barbie. In fact, she is the anti-Barbie.

LEIGH ANNE BRODSKY, NICKELODEON: The reason for this doll line is to offer an alternative to moms who want their girls to stay little girls a little longer.


COSTELLO: And Mattel says tween Dora will still use her brains, but as an older girl, she`ll use her adventurous spirit to solve mystery with her new friends.

GINA SIRARD, MATTEL: It`s not about the fashion as much as it`s about Dora being able to go a little bit incognito so she can solve these mysteries that are embedded into this web.


HAMMER: That was CNN`s Carol Costello for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Now the SHOWBIZ lineup. Here`s what`s coming up at the bottom of the hour on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Absolute outrage over the Chris Brown/Rihanna drama. Is Chris Brown already guilty in the eyes of the public? Also, possible backlash for Rihanna. Is it fair to criticize Rihanna for going back to Chris Brown?

And why did Disney star Zac Efron`s mom give him condoms for Christmas? Wait until you hear this.


Now the "SHOWBIZ News Ticker", more stories from the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom making news right now.

(CAPTION READS: Jewel and Nancy O`Dell out of "Dancing with the Stars" because of injuries. Vince Vaughn is engaged to his girlfriend, Kyla Weber.)



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This appearance fully protected Rihanna`s rights. And what she really wants to convey is her appreciation to her friends, her followers, her family, the people who support her.


HAMMER: Now on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT -- outrage over the Chris Brown/Rihanna drama. Is Chris Brown already guilty as far as the public is concerned? And is it fair to criticize Rihanna for going back to him? Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with all the burning questions in the Chris Brown/Rihanna outrage.

And why in the world did the Disney star Zac Efron`s mom give him condoms for Christmas? Wait until you hear the story behind Zac`s unusual stocking stuffer.

Plus more stories breaking from the "SHOWBIZ News Ticker". TV`s most provocative entertainment news show continues right now!

Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. It is 30 minutes past the hour. I`m A.J. Hammer broadcasting tonight and every night from New York City.

And tonight brand new Chris Brown/Rihanna outrage. Brown`s dramatic day in court is making big news right now. A nervous Chris Brown showed up in court yesterday after being charged with two felony counts related to his alleged assault on Rihanna. But after the arraignment was delayed, why didn`t the judge bar Brown from seeing Rihanna?

And brand new outrage over the love fest in court. Why the heck was Rihanna`s attorney paling around with Brown and his attorney? Well, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has uncovered a conversation they probably don`t want you to hear and we will play it for you.

And now that the chilling and graphic details in the alleged assault on Rihanna have been revealed, I got to ask, has Chris Brown already been convicted in the public eye?

Joining me tonight from Hollywood, Carlos Diaz, who is a correspondent for "EXTRA", also joining me tonight in New York attorney Midwin Charles. I got to tell you I was just stunned to see what unfolded in court yesterday. Chris Brown stood in front of the judge facing two felony charges, one was for assault of course, one for making a criminal threat, and all against Rihanna. And I got to show you what the judge said after the arraignment was postponed. Let`s roll that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Brown, you are ordered not to annoy, harass, molest, threaten, or use force and violence against anybody. And you don`t have a no-contact order?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your honor, Ms. Fenty (ph) does not request that type of order. All right. Do you understand that, sir?



HAMMER: OK, so despite everything we know the judge didn`t issue an order that would keep Brown away from Rihanna because Rihanna doesn`t want one. Midwin, make me understand this because my head is going to explode.

CHARLES: Well the way it works, A.J., is that the victim here who is Rihanna, or allegedly Rihanna, they are usually the ones who would ask the judge for an order of protection, which is asking and seeking the protection of the court for keeping this person away from her. She hasn`t done that here, so the judge can`t really go ahead and force Rihanna to do it, so that`s really what you are dealing with here.

HAMMER: I get that, but it blows my mind. Carlos, do you understand why people are so outraged over this?

DIAZ: Well let me butt in. "EXTRA" has found a protective order in this case. There is a protective order in this case. And it actually allows Rihanna to record any prohibited conversations between Rihanna and Chris Brown. That was filed yesterday because when -- I thought the same thing. When they left, I thought wow, no order of protection, but there is an order of protection that was filed yesterday. And it is filed with the courts. And like I said, Rihanna can record any prohibitive conversations between her and Chris Brown.


HAMMER: I got that, but that is different.


HAMMER: . from him not having to stay away from her.

DIAZ: Right.

CHARLES: That`s right.

DIAZ: Right.

HAMMER: And Carlos, here is what I am outraged and I`m hearing from a lot of people, a lot of outrage on is the idea that Rihanna did not want that order of protection.

DIAZ: Right and that`s the thing too. I mean a lot of people -- the reason people are so outraged with this is because you know a lot of times celebrity you know trials that happen, celebrity court cases are so outrageous and you know people can`t relate to them. Everyone can relate to domestic violence whether it happened with their parents, whether it`s happening in their own lives, whether it`s happened with friends. Everyone has been touched by domestic violence and that is why so many people are just so up in arms about this case.

HAMMER: I got to show you another outrageous moment that happened in court yesterday. There was what I thought was a surprising conversation between Chris Brown, Rihanna`s attorney Don Etra (ph), and Brown`s attorney Mark Geragos. It looked like some kind of virtual love fest going on and it was caught on tape in open court. It is hard to hear, but I want you to pay close attention to the words on the screen. Let`s roll that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that Rihanna would like this over as quickly as possible (INAUDIBLE).

I`m just a little confused on the terms of everything, so -- I`m just a little confused on the terms of how it will be presented (INAUDIBLE). Mark will explain it. I`ll explain it to Rihanna. I`m sure Mark will explain it to you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I explained to you that the best thing that could happen in this case is that Don is involved. Didn`t I tell you that before?


HAMMER: Look at that. Everybody is just patting each other on the back. Midwin, am I reading too much into this. And you know am I becoming too unnecessarily outraged because it looks to me like they`re all in cahoots to make the whole thing go away.

CHARLES: To a certain extent. I mean I`m actually surprised that this conversation was even recorded. I mean whatever happened to attorney/client privilege? I mean but.

HAMMER: Yeah, not there.

CHARLES: I mean but that aside, you know A.J. oftentimes when you have attorneys on both sides of an issue they`re not always at each other`s throats and they`re not always going for the jugular. You have to remember here one of the most interesting aspects of this case is that you are dealing with two celebrities. So they have two -- they have a common goal here, the two of them which is to ensure that they come out of this smelling like roses. So it`s not unheard of to have the two attorneys discuss things.


CHARLES: . and figure out what is the best way to make that happen.

HAMMER: Well and in this case we are really talking about the D.A., the prosecutors going after Chris Brown and hoping for help from Rihanna. This is not Rihanna going after Chris Brown at this point?

CHARLES: That`s right. And it looks as though she is not necessarily interested in going after him.


CHARLES: But let`s remember, she is the victim here, so let`s, let`s be careful to not vilify the victim because she is not acting the way we would like her to act.

HAMMER: No, I think that is an important point to make.

CHARLES: It is her prerogative to do as she so pleases. She might need some assistance. She might need some psychological counseling and what have you to deal with the traumatic experience that she has been through.


CHARLES: But let`s be careful to not criticize each and every single one of her moves.

HAMMER: No, I agree with that. It is just so difficult to process all of this, particularly given some of what we learned because perhaps one of the most outrageous things to come out so far was that police affidavit that contained Rihanna`s reported account of what happened. The details are just astounding.

CHARLES: They are.

HAMMER: I`m going to read a little bit more of this to you. "Robyn F. turned to face Brown and he punched her in the left eye with his right hand. He then drove away in the vehicle and continued to punch her in the face with his right hand while steering the vehicle with his left hand. The assault caused Robyn F.`s mouth to fill with blood and blood to splatter all over her clothing and the interior of the vehicle."

I can hardly read that sometimes as many times as I have looked over it. Carlos, now that this is out there I do not see how anybody can get past it. Doesn`t it really convict Chris Brown in the public eye regardless of what happens here?

DIAZ: It absolutely does. And you know that I have covered a lot of celebrity court cases. I was there for the Anna Nicole case. And you know one thing that happens after I cover a court case I will go to my friends or I`ll go to people here in the "EXTRA" newsroom and I`ll try to convey information that I don`t think they might, you know maybe they might not know about.

I, yesterday, went and talked to a bunch of people and I said can you believe you know these allegations against Chris Brown. People in the newsroom here and all of my friends knew every single facet of what was said in those papers. People are all over this. And like you said he is convicted in the public eye.

HAMMER: Yeah, this touches people on so many levels even if you didn`t know who the heck Chris Brown and Rihanna were before it all happened. The "Showbiz on Call" phone lines, needless to say have just been jammed. Absolute outrage coming in from callers on both sides. I want to play what Myriam from Michigan had to say about this. Let`s roll that.


MYRIAM, CALLER FROM MICHIGAN: I feel like that everyone is making him to be the bad person. If you don`t know what is going on, then why are you guys (INAUDIBLE) well Chris Brown did this, and he need help, and she needs help, and why is she going back to him if he did this to her? Y`all need to realize no one really knows.


HAMMER: All right, thanks Myriam. Twenty seconds for you Midwin. Are you with Myriam that we need to back off and let the process play out before we jump to too many conclusions here?

CHARLES: Absolutely. Always. Remember Chris Brown is clearly a defendant here. He has a Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial. All this information that has been released into the public will clearly jeopardize that. It will affect the jury pool and it might encourage the prosecutor to go about this in a way to ensure that he gets a conviction in order to please public opinion, so your caller is absolutely correct in stating that.

HAMMER: Yeah. Still so much to come in this case. Carlos Diaz, Midwin Charles, thank you both of you.

DIAZ: Thank you.

HAMMER: Now we have been asking you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. It is this. Chris Brown/Rihanna drama. Should Brown be forced to stand trial? You can vote at You can also e-mail

While Chris Brown could be bracing for a nasty public trial, he and Rihanna are reportedly back together and that is sparking a major backlash.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This appearance fully protected Rihanna`s rights and what she really wants to convey is her appreciation to her friends, her followers, her family, the people who support her.


HAMMER: But here`s the question -- will Rihanna continue to have that support from her millions of fans or will they totally abandon her because she is standing by her man? And really does anyone have the right to judge her? You`ve got to hear more of your fired-up calls into the "Showbiz on Call" phone lines.

And this is incredible. What is life like now for "The Bachelor`s" Jason and Molly after the most scandalous reality show ending ever? Wait until you hear what they just told Ellen. I couldn`t believe it.

And why did Disney star Zac Efron`s mom give him condoms for Christmas, yes, I said condoms, and stocking stuffer, and mother.


Now the "SHOWBIZ News Ticker", more stories from the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom making news right now.

(CAPTION READS: Soccer star David Beckham to stay in Italy "on loan" from L.A. Galaxy until May. Amy Winehouse charged with assaulting fan at charity event.)


HAMMER: I`m A.J. Hammer. Saturday on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT this weekend "Octumom 911", the fallout from the octumom`s disturbing 911 calls to police at 11:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This appearance fully protected Rihanna`s rights and what she really wants to convey is her appreciation to her friends, her followers, her family, the people who support her.


HAMMER: Rihanna`s attorney sending a message to fans on the very same day her boyfriend appeared in court to face charges of attacking her.

Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

Right now SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s continuing coverage of the Chris Brown case, brand new tonight, the Rihanna backlash. Rihanna is reportedly standing by Chris Brown even after he was charged with assaulting her. I got to tell you the "Showbiz on Call" phone lines have just been overwhelmed. A lot of calls coming in slamming Rihanna.

And tonight we`re asking -- if Rihanna did go back to the man who allegedly beat her up is it fair or absolutely insane to criticize her? Joining me tonight in New York is Cooper Lawrence, who is a psychology expert and author of the terrific book "The Cult of Celebrity". Also in New York tonight, Ashleigh Banfield, who is an anchor for the legal network "In Session".

So now that Chris Brown has been formally charged with two felonies for allegedly attacking Rihanna and the two have reportedly reunited, there seems to be this growing backlash against Rihanna. I`m seeing the calls coming in to "Showbiz on Call," reading about it on the Internet. Cooper, some of her fans just shaking their heads in disgust that Rihanna may be back with Chris. Is it even fair to criticize her?

COOPER LAWRENCE, AUTHOR AND PSYCHOLOGY EXPERT: Well A.J., think about who her fans are. They`re very young. I`m sure a lot of their parents are saying yeah, that`s not a good role model for my kid. I want somebody who has self-esteem, who`s going to stand up to somebody who is abusive and try and get help, not go back with him.

She is a bad role model right now, so that -- look, you put yourself out there as a celebrity. It`s up to us to decide if we`re going to spend our money on you or not. And we don`t approve of what is going on. The only way we can communicate that is with our wallet.

HAMMER: And our viewers are just fired up about this, too. People are speaking out on the "Showbiz on Call" phone lines jammed with calls about Rihanna and the fact that she reportedly has gotten back together with Chris Brown. Listen to what Jessica from California has to say about this.


JESSICA, CALLER FROM CALIFORNIA: And I`m sorry, but I think Rihanna is a complete idiot for lack of a better term. I think if she goes back with Chris Brown she is going to completely ruin her career because I think she is going to lose the respect of people who know her, those even who don`t know her personally, and I think she is going (INAUDIBLE) Chris himself. I think that she should stand up and realize the great potential she is as a human being, above even being a musical artist.


HAMMER: Thanks a lot for your call, Jessica. I got to say this is tough. In light of everything that we know this is just tough to hear. Jessica says fans will lose respect for Rihanna if she sticks by Chris. Ashleigh, to you, it seems Rihanna is not being judged as an alleged victim of domestic violence now, but as a role model who has an apparent obligation to say this is not acceptable and walk away. Is that fair?

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, ANCHOR, "IN SESSION": No one has an obligation to do anything. But they have to deal with the ramifications of what they do. And here is the deal. I think we all really need to step back until we know the facts of the case and we know Rihanna`s strategy. None of us can say definitively if she`s going to testify in this case. She may.

She may have reconciled with him and she may testify. But here is the other thing. She is a public figure even at the tender age of 21 and there is a different standard because you are a role model. You do have to deal with the backlash if you do things that are unpalatable to the public. So in one sense she is some what obligated. In another sense she`s not obligated at all.

HAMMER: Yeah, it`s really hard to find the middle ground on it and a lot of people very ambivalent about the whole situation. Let me play another call coming in to "Showbiz on Call." This is Kay from California and Kay says that Rihanna is sending a very bad message.


KAY, CALLER FROM CALIFORNIA: I just think it is horrible that she can go back to him after what he did to her. And she is sending a very, very bad message to young girls. And I just think it`s -- that she is horrible for going back. And she just lost a fan. And I`ll never buy her CD ever again.


HAMMER: Never buy a CD ever again. Kay, I appreciate your call. All right, so Rihanna just lost Kay as a fan. And I got to tell you I am just hearing this over and over. Cooper, it seems to be this kind of backlash is making her a victim two times over.

LAWRENCE: Well, I don`t think we are victimizing her. I think, you know, by us choosing not to buy her albums or go to her concerts that is us saying look somebody loves you and cares about you, but right now it is not us, so what does that tell you? If we are unwilling to stand by you, what does that tell you? We love you so much.

You have done nothing wrong here. That`s the bigger picture. That she has done nothing wrong. But again, like I said earlier, it all comes down to how you -- how you spend your money. And that`s how you communicate.

HAMMER: Yeah. Well if Rihanna is in fact a victim of domestic violence she`s certainly not alone. There have been plenty of big stars in Hollywood who have lived this nightmare of being in an abusive relationship. Watch what Pam Anderson told CNN`s Larry King about being a victim. Let`s look at that.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think at some point you lose all your self- esteem. And it gets scary to think you`re going to be on your own because a lot of the abuse I think stems from them trying to control you and be the powerful person and you feel weak and it`s scary. And the hardest thing I ever did in my life was to leave Tommy.


HAMMER: Yeah, all right, Cooper, quickly. I have about 20 seconds for you, but do you think that Rihanna is just plain scared to leave Chris and maybe as Ashleigh said we just need to back off and let her figure this out?

LAWRENCE: She is scared to leave him. That`s how it goes in abusive relationships, is you`re afraid to stay, but you`re afraid to leave because leaving could have worse ramifications.

HAMMER: All right, Ashleigh Banfield.


HAMMER: . Cooper Lawrence, I`m sorry, we`re going to leave it right there. I appreciate you being here tonight.


HAMMER: Thursday we asked you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day on the Chris Brown/Rihanna drama. Chris Brown/Rihanna scandal, will his career ever recover? Kind of mixed here, 44 percent of you said yes; 56 percent of you said no. Among some of the e-mails we got one from Jany from Pennsylvania who writes "Chris Brown and Rihanna are human too. We are forgetting that. We should let them live their lives."

We also heard from Lauren in Quebec, Canada. Lauren writes, "I think that Rihanna has more to worry about regarding her career. She is a role model for young women and taking Chris Brown back is a terrible message to give to these young women."

Well it`s time now for another big story that is making news right now. A Disney star reveals why he got a sexy Christmas gift from his mom. "High School Musical" star Zac Efron who is dating co-star Vanessa Huggins (ph) tells all about the interesting gift that he got after his mother saw pictures of Zac and Vanessa all over the Internet in what looked like an adult entertainment store.

Zac tells "Elle" magazine quote, "I was like mom, calm down. It`s not a sex shop. She wouldn`t have any of it. My stocking was full of condoms this Christmas. She buys me the economy box." Now for the record, Zac says that he was in a costume store on Halloween that had an adult section, so there you go.

Well everybody is still buzzing about the most scandalous "Bachelor" breakup ever between Jason and Melissa and his shocking hookup with Molly. Now Jason and Molly tell all about their life together. Wait until you hear their huge plans for life after reality TV. The question is, are wedding bells in the works for the country`s most infamous couple.

This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN. Now the "SHOWBIZ News Ticker", more stories from the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom making news right now.

(CAPTION READS: "Seinfeld" stars reunite on HBO`s "Curb Your Enthusiasm". "Slumdog Millionaire" makes $217 million in global ticket sales.)



It`s time now for "Making it Work". Tonight, the country`s most infamous new couple, "The Bachelor`s" Jason Mesnick and Molly Malaney. After the scandal that rocked the reality world, how will they possibly make their relationship work? Well, in case you`ve been under a rock for the past couple of days, here`s the big "Bachelor" back story on the show`s final episode Jason promises to Melissa and dumps Molly.

Then six weeks later on the reunion show, Jason dumps Melissa and admits he`s really been in love with Molly the entire time. Because of that shocking flip-flop on national television, Jason Mesnick has perhaps become the most hated man in America. But despite the drama, Jason and Molly tell Ellen DeGeneres that they are moving on with their big plans for a future together.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you are going to move to Seattle?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Eventually. I think right now we are just trying to adjust to being a couple in the real world first and we`re just kind of taking things at our own pace.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah, yeah, and the next level is being in the same city.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: . and then living together.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And then life, real life.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, good luck to you and so I assume you all are going to -- you`re planning on getting married or you are just taking it a day at a time?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Taking it a day at a time.



HAMMER: One Day at a Time -- that was a pretty good TV show. And with Jason and Molly you`ve got your romance, you`ve got your scandal, maybe a wedding. It sounds like one day at a time could actually work as the title for their new reality show. I`m just saying.

All right now this is perhaps my favorite story of the week, the economy of course in the toilet, but are things so bad that people now want to eat out of a toilet? Did you see this? There`s a brand-new restaurant in Taiwan called Modern Toilet.

Yes, customers sit on the throne, lid down of course in front of a glass table with a sink underneath. Then dinner is served in a mini toilet bowl and drinks come in little plastic urinals that you get. They come with you of course and I`m going to spare you the details on the poop- inspired chocolate ice cream dessert.

But if this all sounds very shocking, that`s exactly the point, according to the restaurant`s owner. But here I am quoting the 6-year-old boy who visited the restaurant with his parents. "Yuck". And there`s no word if they are serving urinal cakes for dessert as well.

That is it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I couldn`t resist. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. I thank you for watching despite that story. Remember, you can catch SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on "the elevens", 11:00 p.m. Eastern, 11:00 p.m. Pacific and weekday mornings at 11:00 a.m. Eastern on HLN.

Thank you for watching.