Young Lee, the Pinkberry co-founder arrested this week for an alleged attack on a homeless man in East Hollywood, has started singing to police, The L.A. Times reports. Lee apparently detailed his motivation for taking a tire iron to a panhandler last summer, and surprisingly, his anger stemmed not from the closing of the fro-yo giant's West Hollywood flagship or anything like that, but by a sexually explicit tattoo he glimpsed while the victim was changing his sweater. Countering early reports, Lee's lawyer says, "As the evidence comes out, the reality will be much different than has been presented," and he insists, "All of the people in the car felt at risk and felt threatened." What exactly is Lee's lawyer arguing in his defense and what do police say?
One side of the story finds Lee and five other acquaintances driving in a rented Range Rover and getting off the 101 freeway at Vermont Avenue. A panhandler who was asking drivers for money apparently changed into a sweater, revealing a tattoo not-so-graphically described as a "man and woman having sex." According to the paper, "Lee seemed to have viewed the tattoo as a suggestion of disrespect," and began arguing with this inked-up individual. The LAPD says that Lee then parked his car and confronted the man, chased him down, forced him to kneel and apologize, and beat him with a tire iron even after he said sorry.
Philip Kent Cohen, Lee's lawyer, is arguing that the homeless man "made explicit threats as if he had a weapon, which he may have had." It seems a little odd that one would take the time to park their car and chase someone they believed to be armed, equipped themselves with only a bludgeoning tool, instead of just driving away, but that's apparently the defense's story and they're sticking to it for now.
As for Lee's following the beating with a lengthy six-month trip to South Korea, The L.A. Times reports that Lee's defense claims the entrepreneur was on "a previously scheduled business trip to Asia and Europe," and not just laying low while the whole beating-a-random-dude-with-a-tire-iron incident went away. Lee's side also claims that he has fully co-operated with authorities every step of the way after finding out about the arrest warrant, and immediately cut his lengthy trip short to return to L.A. this week.
Count on hearing more about Lee, the tire iron, and one hella sexy tattoo, as this story unfolds in court.
'Sexually explicit' tattoo described in Pinkberry beating case [LAT]
Pinkberry founder Young Lee felt threatened, attorney says [LAT]
Pinkberry Co-Founder Suspected of Assaulting Homeless Man With a Tire Iron [GS]