LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A co-founder of the Pinkberry yogurt chain was ordered Thursday to stand trial on a felony charge of assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly striking a transient with a tire iron last year.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Terry A. Bork denied the defense’s motion to dismiss the case against Young Lee, who is no longer involved with the yogurt chain.
Lee, 47, remains free on $60,000 bail and is due back at the downtown courthouse for arraignment Aug. 2.
“Are you 100 percent sure that this is the person who hit you with a tire iron?” defense attorney Philip Kent Cohen asked Donald Bolding, who was called to the witness stand during the defendant’s preliminary hearing, which stretched over portions of three days.
Bolding said he was 85 to 95 percent sure.
Bolding — who has filed a civil lawsuit against Lee in connection with the alleged June 15, 2011, attack — said he had been asking commuters for money on the Vermont Avenue offramp of the Hollywood (101) Freeway when he saw his assailant wielding a tire iron and demanding, “Apologize. You showed disrespect.”
“It was a bad day. I was assaulted,” he said.
The prosecution alleges that Lee and a companion got out of a car he was driving and confronted Bolding because Lee thought the transient had disrespected his wife by showing a sexually explicit tattoo.
“I’m befuddled. I’m like, `What are you talking about?’ That’s when he hits me with the tire iron,” Bolding said, noting that he was hit twice in the head.
The transient — who is jailed on an unrelated drug case — said he was bleeding when he ran into oncoming traffic in an effort to avoid being attacked further. He testified that he was ordered to get on his hands and knees to apologize as he fell against a fence.
“I’m trying to cover my head because he’s swinging the tire iron,” Bolding testified, saying that he felt pain when he was struck in the arm.
Bolding described himself as “dirty” and “homeless” at the time and said he believed he had about $14 or $15 in a cup in which he had been collecting money. The attack stopped after other people came to his aid and called 911, he said.
“I black(ed) out I guess for a little bit,” he said.
Bolding said he was treated at two hospitals, where a cast was put on his left arm.
Deputy District Attorney Hilary Williams described the evidence presented during the preliminary hearing as “overwhelming,” telling the judge that Bolding was unarmed and did not instigate the attack.
Lee’s attorney countered that there were significant questions about whether his client was involved in the attack.
Lee co-founded Pinkberry with then-wife Shelly Hwang in 2005. He is no longer involved with the company, its partners or its more than 170 stores worldwide. Pinkberry formally ended his ties with him in May 2010, according to the company.
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