Rihanna photo may compromise trial, TMZ ‘not convinced it’s LAPD photo’

Rihanna

Rihanna issues statement
Rihanna has issued a statement through her representative nearly two weeks after a brutal incident with then-boyfriend Chris Brown. Rihanna was left bruised, bloodied and temporarily unconscious. The police rushed her to the hospital in the back of their cruiser because she was so injured they didn’t want to risk waiting for an ambulance. She was unable to perform as scheduled at the biggest event of the year for her industry the next day.

Rihanna spoke out for the first time since allegedly being assaulted by Chris Brown, issuing a statement of thanks to her fans.

“At the request of the authorities, Rihanna is not commenting about the incident involving Chris Brown,” says the statement from her rep on Friday. “She wants to assure her fans that she remains strong, is doing well, and deeply appreciates the outpouring of support she has received during this difficult time.”

The statement comes on her 21st birthday and a day after she was spotted in Los Angeles after spending nearly two weeks in seclusion.

The singer was photographed Thursday heading to an airport the same night a graphic photo reportedly showing her battered face surfaced on the Internet, upsetting her father, who criticized police for their “sloppy work.”

Prior to the statement, neither Rihanna nor her representatives had commented since the arrest of Brown, 19, on Feb. 8

On Friday, friends in Rihanna’s native Barbados marked her birthday by taking out an ad in the local paper wishing her a happy 21st “amidst all the negativity about Ri Ri. God will continue to bless her.”

“I just really love that girl,” Sharon Thompson, who bought the birthday greeting, tells PEOPLE. ” Some nights I cry because of what I’m hearing. It has me deeply hurt. She’s just so lovely.”

[From People]

That statement from Rihanna’s people is both reassuring and simply stated. Given the fact that the photo of her terrible injuries just came out, it was definitely needed as people were very concerned about how she was doing. It’s nice to hear that she has such caring friends who are rooting for her.

Rihanna

Brown could get away with attempted murder due to leak of Rihanna photo
TMZ has come under plenty of fire for releasing that picture of Rihanna’s injuries – on her 21st birthday no less. Not only was it a violation of Rihanna’s rights and made a very difficult situation for her even more public, it also may have compromised the prosecution. Website TheMediaBuffet claims to have an insider source at TMZ who says that the Rihanna photo was purchased for $62,500. Even if they have no source and are guessing at the numbers, they make a very good point that the release of this photo could allow Chris Brown to get away with attempted murder without even a slap on the wrist.

Insider TMZ turncoats spilled the numbers Levin’s minions are believed to have shelled out for pix taken of Rihanna immediately after the alleged Chris Brown attack. The source of the photo leak, a law enforcement insider close to the investigation, reportedly raked in $62.5k, double the salary of the person suspected of leaking the pic. Sources state TMZ pays a relative or friend of the snitch within 24 hours of receipt of a photo to cover their tracks. TMZ has been in the business of paying high dollar amounts for coveted pix. In 2007 Thomas Riccio, O.J. friend/auctioneer, was paid a mind boggling $165k, our sources say, by check delivered to his home, from TMZ, for photos and recordings related recent memorabilia heist O.J. was jailed for.

The most unfortunate aspect of the the entire incident is not only the total disrespect for the victim, Rihanna, but the legal ramifications related to jury pool pollution the public revelation of this photo obviously has on the possible upcoming criminal case against alleged attacker, Chris Brown. “Brown, even if guilty, could walk free because of the unauthorized release of this photo,” says and LAPD source. Insiders say LAPD brass is “furious, subpeonas have already gone out.” The fallout for TMZ has begun as advertisers are pulling back from their relationships with TMZ due to the controversy.

[From The Media Buffet, emphasis added - link has photo of battered Rihanna]

TMZ Owner: Photo was not obtained illegally, ‘picture was going to get out’
Jossip has footage of an interview in which TMZ owner Harvey Levin justifies the release of the battered photo of Rihanna. Levin said on LA News station KTLA that he was convinced that the photo was obtained legally and was not stolen police evidence.

Harvey Levin: A. It was gotten [sic] legally… and we always adhere to that and

B. When we got the picture, we honestly believed it was not an LAPD picture. I’m still not convinced it is.
I know what the police department said last night, and I had contact with them as well.

And when you read their press release they are not unequivocally saying that it is an LAPD picture, but that was not our understanding yesterday when we posted it. Nonetheless we’re not going to talk about where we got it other than the fact that we got it legallty.

[Transcribed from Harvey Levin's appearance on KTLA 2/20/09, via Jossip]

Levin kept insisting the photo wasn’t stolen property from the LAPD and went on to justify publishing the photo by saying “She was out on a street… it appears this was taken somewhere on a street…. This picture was going to get out.” You can tell from the way that guy talks that he used to work as a lawyer and that he has about zero scruples. When questioned about how the release of the photo might impact the case, Levin turned it around and made an analogy to how KTLA aired the Rodney King beating in 1991. He also brought up the OJ trial in some kind of analogy about how the evidence in a case doesn’t really matter.

Jossip has the video of his interview if you’d like to watch it.

TMZ got a lot of traffic and publicity for this photo, but was it worth it? If you don’t care about someone’s privacy or if you’re going to ruin their chances at justice, it probably was.

Rihanna is shown performing at the Super Bowl on 1/29/09. Credit: PRPhotos

Rihanna

 

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26 Responses to “Rihanna photo may compromise trial, TMZ ‘not convinced it’s LAPD photo’”

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  1. Megan says:

    I knew a photo would get out somehow, but I think it’s a bit sad that people will do anything for money these days. The person who sold the photo should feel very ashamed of themselves.

  2. Enonymous says:

    Why would Chris Brown get away with it just because some photo was released? The legal system is just plain stupid and useless.

    Also, best wishes to Rihanna.

  3. Bad Case of the Sads says:

    Maybe b/c it could threaten the neutrality of the potential jury pool? But I don’t how CB’s lawyers could argue that effectively. IDK.

  4. pm says:

    I don’t think the photo being leaked with jeopardize the case. I think the police sources who keep talking to media will. After the picture was release one of these source said she may have thrown the first punch. Why would they wait until the picture comes out and say something like that? I really don’t think they have a case for attempted murder.

  5. Lina says:

    No one deserves to have a picture of them at one of their lowest points all over the internet and TV news stations.

  6. MC says:

    I think that the only potentially good aspect of all this insane publicity is that it lessens the chance that she’ll go back to him. If it was hush hush the chances would be greater, if this was an ongoing abusive relationship.

  7. czarina says:

    This is a case of domestic battery…why would there be a full jury trial? Wouldn’t you just try the case before a judge? (I don’t know California law as regards to this).
    While any blog who posted a link or any person who jumped over to look at the picture has no right to any high moral ground (including myself), I have to say I do agree that at some point there has to be some accountability by sites like TMZ who have gone beyond providing celeb gossip/pics into exploitation beyond reason. (I thought this while Britney Spears was being stalked and harassed by the paps so that not one second of her nervous breakdown would be missed…that was just so ugly and pathetic).

  8. Sam says:

    I don’t see, as a prosecutor, why it result in an acquittal. the most you may say is that it could taint the potential jury pool because they may have already seen the photo or because of pretrial publicity. That is always a factor in a high profile case anyway.

  9. Jill says:

    there will still be plenty of people who haven’t seen the photo, and probably many who won’t even know the story. not everyone follows entertainment news. and there are undoubtedly people out there who don’t even know who she is. i know my parents don’t.

  10. Lee says:

    TMZ is trash- I used to skim their website until I realized how disgusting those people are. we should boycott TMZ as well as Chris Brown!

  11. :( says:

    I agree with Lina. Man, if TMZ messed up the case…

    there are no words.

  12. Kristen says:

    I hope that this leech is held fully accountable for this invasion of her privacy. The release of that photo was completely uncalled for. If he had an ounce of humanity in him he would have purchased that photo and gone straight to the police with it and given all info on the person who sold them the pic. But no, all that mattered to TMZ was breaking the story first. If Chris Brown is able to get away with what he did because of TMZ’s is unconscionable.

  13. Diva says:

    If there were people who didn’t know the story in the original OJ case, there are people who have no clue about this one either.

    Believe it or not, there are a whole hell of alot of people in this country who don’t actually give a f*ck about celebrities and don’t spend their time reading about them… or hell, even watching TV!

  14. CB Rawks says:

    Oh right, proof of the crime exists, so it’s harder to punish him! Our court systems are SO retarded.
    It should just be entered as evidence of her injuries, along with her doctors report.

    All murderers should just post snaps of their victims online, eh.

  15. CB Rawks says:

    I’m in moderation? Not a single naughty word. :)

  16. anom says:

    I’m torn about it. On one hand she is probably mortified that it was leaked, but on the other I think the pics clear up any misunderstanding of the nature of the attack. I feel like the more people see the pics the less likely it will be for CB to have a successful career.

  17. hmm says:

    I don’t think the leak of the photo will result in the charges being dismissed. I find it increasingly weird that people say they are uncertain it was a police photo. Hello!! They launched an investigation into the leak. Isn’t that an acknowledgment that the photo is indeed from the police? Given the high profile nature of this case it will be difficult to find a jury that has not heard anything but that shouldn’t be dispositive. Also, if it goes to trial, Brown could always opt for a bench trial rather than a jury trial. I think the leak puts the pressure on the DA and on Rihanna as well. I’m sure the police and the DA were reading those same reports the other day about Rihanna taking him back. If she were to take him back she would be sending a horrible message to women and I think that her career would suffer tremendously.

  18. Jag says:

    And that is why I no longer go to TMZ’s website.

  19. 1555 filmworks says:

    Filmmaker Mark Harris been exposed physical abuse in the entertainment industry in feature film I USED TO LOVE HER.

    It’s interesting how everyone is now discussing physical abuse toward women in the hip hop community after the Chris Brown and Rihanna incident.

    BUT feature film “I USED TO LOVE HER” a film written, directed and produced by Mark Harris of 1555 Filmwork screened in festivals all around the world and dealt with this exact same issue as its subplot. Simee Smith is a famous female singer who attempts to leave her hip hop superstar boyfriend who’s possessive and physically abusive.

    TRAILER IS BELOW
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmD0GQ6rVxU

    Mark Harris was recently interviewed on ABC 7- link is below
    http://podcast.com/episode/34888630/31550

  20. Merri Lee says:

    Did you follow the R. Kelly trial? He was let off because of the way the evidence was obtained.

  21. Sammie says:

    well i think that chris shouldnt havent beaten ri ri like that because of the incident im not that interested in him or his music career i think that he was a nice gentle guy buy i reliazed that he is not rihana i dont wrong you he should be placed in jail for the condition he put you in hope you feel better rihana alot of love coming from your fans

  22. Kenesha says:

    Well i think it was wrong for chris to do such a horrible thing to ma fave female singer , and not because his early childhood was bad he might had to take it out on her he cost her alot of money for her to do plastic surgery and to have her pic broadcasted on the net chris you are not a nice guy shout out from you fans ri ri.

  23. Sammie says:

    i love ri ri i have always love her chris brown u r a horrible person u have all right to go to jail u have lost alot of ur fans which contain me and my 500 friends u r a evil person and u should have had more time in jail u sick me and my girl ri ri and almost everyone in my country hate u chris brown`

  24. j dub says:

    because the rihanna didnt approve that they release.. it but he wont get a fair trial..if that is her then thats definately a lapd shot for the simply fact it said she didnt want nobody touchin her you think she gon stand straight and let them take a pic..and tmz is lyin if they didnt know it was an offical pic why did they spend that much and promote it..its all over ..much love to chris and rihanna i still support both of em because i love both of there music..theres a sayin dnt judge the person judge the music..plus its gods place to judge who are we to judge when everyone of us made a mistake in our lives we are not pure..leave to god

  25. simplegirl says:

    Let me start by saying im a woman and if a man put there hands on my mother, sister,best friend anyone woman i know there will be hell to pay. I really dont respect or care one way what happen to her anymore. He beat her badly and she dont want to talk to the cops anymore y should i care. I think he should face what he did any man( if u call yourself a man)should stand up own up to what u did and deal with the consequences. Why should i fell sorry for her when she’s trying to pretend it didnt happen if he kill her next time i really dont care if he beat her again let him. There people out there who really want help stop wasting people time bothering about other who dont care about there self. It not my life and if she dont care guess what so do i. There a little girl missing who needs more people to help find her. Rihana happy she have chris brown. Great example rihana setting for the young girl if a someone hit you, just love him more. People say its not easy to leave an abuse relationship you wanna bet watch me leave. One time i was 16 my boyfriend at the time slap me so hard i swear i saw stars, u know what i did i hit him with a frying pan(call me evil) but i was not going to take it, didnt wait around to find out what happen next. That was it for me and him i love him he was my first love but guess what i love myself more.
    just dont waste your time on her she may not deserve what happen to her, but she not making it better by not saying nothing. Beat her some more chris she might like it.