Suspect in attack on comic Dave Chappelle pleads not guilty

AFP / Alex Edelman

A 23-year-old man accused of tackling comedian Dave Chappelle to the stage floor during a performance pleaded not guilty on Friday to four misdemeanour counts. He was told to stay away from the celebrity.

During a brief hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court, a judge ordered the suspect, Isaiah Lee, held on $30,000 (AED 110,193) bail pending further proceedings later this month, local media reported.

The judge ordered Lee to stay at least 100 yards away from 48-year-old Chappelle if he was released on bond, local media said.

A spokesperson for the Los Angeles City Attorney's office, which filed the charges, could not immediately be reached for comment. A public defender representing Lee also could not be reached for comment.

Lee was charged with misdemeanour battery, possession of a weapon with intent to assault and two other misdemeanours.

However, the office of Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon declined to charge him because the conduct did not meet the standards of a felony, a spokesman for Gascon said.

Under California law, a misdemeanour carries a maximum sentence of one year in county jail. In Los Angeles, the city attorney prosecutes misdemeanours while the district attorney is responsible for felony cases.

Police say Chappelle was performing at the Hollywood Bowl on Tuesday when Lee rushed at the comedian, knocking him to the ground. Lee was subdued near the back of the stage as he sought to flee.

After a short break, Chappelle returned to the stage and went on with the show, ad-libbing jokes about the incident. He did not appear to be injured.

The comedian's representatives said on Wednesday that he was fully cooperating with the police investigation.

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