A Pinkberry store is seen in the Little Tokyo district of Los Angeles.
Pinkberry co-founder Young Lee, accused in the June tire iron beating of a homeless man near a 101 Freeway off-ramp, pleaded not guilty to felony assault in a Los Angeles courtroom on Monday.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Upinder Kalra granted Lee, who remains free on $60,000 bail, a one-time dispensation allowing him to travel to South Korea, reports the L.A. Times. Lee agreed to automatic extradition should he fail to make his next court date on March 5.
Lee has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon in connection with a summer 2011 attack on a transient, allegedly over a sexually explicit tattoo that may have been viewed as disrespectful, according to authorities.
Los Angeles police say words were exchanged between the man seeking money and Lee in a rented Range Rover.
Notes the L.A. Times:
Lee demanded that the man kneel and apologize, and the man consented, officials said. But Lee attacked him anyway, chasing him down, kicking him and "beating him down" with a tire iron, LAPD officials said.
The suspect's attorney told the Los Angeles Times earlier this month the transient "made explicit threats as if he had a weapon, which he may have had."
Authorities received 911 witness reports including Lee's license plate number. The tire iron was recovered via the rental car agency.