At the request of the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office, the R&B star is being investigated for a variety of felonies, including domestic violence, assault resulting in great bodily injury and—based on specific allegations made by Rihanna—even attempted murder, a source close to the L.A. Police Department's investigation tells E! News.
But as they build their case, the source says, prosecutors fear that making any serious felony charges stick could prove difficult in a case where there are no direct witnesses other than Rihanna and Brown.
Brown is accused of beating his longtime girlfriend in the early morning hours of Feb. 8, causing them both to cancel their scheduled Grammy performances that night.
Rihanna told police that, while the two were fighting in his rented Lamborghini, Brown said to her, "I'm going to kill you," while his hands were around her neck. The Barbados-born songstress, who is reportedly cooperating with the cops' investigation, also told authorities that Brown choked her until she lost consciousness.
Brown was booked by police on suspicion of making criminal threats, but the D.A.'s office wanted further investigation into the incident before it decided on pressing charges.
The 19-year-old singer has been free on $50,000 bail and is currently back home with his family in Virginia.
"Words cannot begin to express how sorry and saddened I am over what transpired," Brown, 19, said over the weekend via his rep in his first public statement since his arrest. "I am seeking the counseling of my pastor, my mother and other loved ones and I am committed, with God's help, to emerging a better person."
Rihanna, 20, was treated after the incident at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and was discharged the following night. After canceling her upcoming public appearances, she spent last week with her family in Babardos before departing for parts unknown.