Since Chris Brown's arrest in February, his normally loquacious attorney, Mark Geragos, has said nary a word about how he plans to defend Brown against charges that he punched, choked and threatened to kill his pop star girlfriend, Rihanna.
But comments by the attorney in court Wednesday suggest part of the strategy might be attacking police for the leak of a photo of Rihanna's bruised face.
The defense lawyer told a judge he planned to request information about possible police misconduct or bias and mentioned by name an appellate court ruling that provides defendants access to files in internal police investigations.
Geragos' remarks seemed a clear reference to the probe sparked by TMZ's posting of a photo consistent with Rihanna pictures taken by police that night.
LAPD investigators have been interviewing their own officers and scouring computers for two months - so far in vain - in an effort to determine if someone inside the agency sold or gave the photo to the celebrity gossip website.
Is Chris Brown's lawyer's apparent strategy of focusing on this haunting, leaked Rihanna photo relevant to his client's defense - or a shameless, distracting ploy?
With a preliminary hearing date now set for May 28, Geragos' actions indicate he may seek to have the case thrown out over the photo at that time.
Whether he proves effective or not, the attorney's focusing on the photo's leak would most definitely compound the LAPD's embarrassment over the apparent failure to safeguard evidence in a case that has attracted world attention.
A state law makes it a misdemeanor for officers or law enforcement employees to profit by leaking confidential reports or images. Police Chief William J. Bratton promised "a very painful experience" for any LAPD employee found to be involved.
"We are still following leads and the case is far from closed," said Deputy Chief Mark Perez, head of the LAPD's Professional Standards Bureau.