As Chris Brown negotiates a plea deal, the R&B singer is making it known Rihanna struck him first that infamous night in Los Angeles. Why does he think it matters?

Because he's negotiating a plea deal, according to TMZ, and has been charged with two felonies for allegedly beating his girlfriend Rihanna. If she hit him first, his lawyers believe, it's not a felony:

Sources say Rihanna was the first one to strike — slapping and striking Brown "numerous times" while he was driving, after seeing the text message from another woman.

Supposedly, this version of events is reflected in the official police report. Floating the story publicly fits perfectly into Brown's dual PR strategy of appearing remorseful even while shifting some blame for the beating to Rihanna.

But Brown needs a swift resolution. As this story drags out in the press, the singer's onetime fans are just growing more disgusted. After seeing Rihanna's police photo, or knowing what it shows, no one really cares what she did to Brown, who emerged physically unblemished.

Prosecutors no doubt realize that time is on their side and will leverage the huge advantage this gives them in negotiating a deal. They just have to keep their star witness from slipping away.