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Pinkberry co-founder pleads not guilty in beating of homeless man

Pinkberry Co-founder Arrrested

Reed Saxon/AP

A Pinkberry store is seen in the Little Tokyo district of Los Angeles Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012. Young Lee, 47, the co-founder of the Pinkberry frozen yogurt chain, was charged with assault with a deadly weapon over allegations he broke a homeless man's arm with a tire iron. Lee was arrested by a joint police and FBI fugitive task force Monday, Jan. 16, as he arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on a flight from South Korea. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

The co-founder of Pinkberry, the frozen yogurt chain, pleaded not guilty Thursday in a Los Angeles Superior Court arraignment hearing to charges that he beat a homeless man with a tire iron in June of last year.

Young Lee, 47, faces one felony count of assault with a deadly weapon with a special allegation that the assault caused great bodily injury. He has been ordered to stand trial, and his pre-trial hearing is set for Sept. 11.

Prosecutors say Lee confronted a homeless man he saw while driving near the 101 Hollywood Freeway and Vermont Avenue. The man had taken off his shirt, exposing a sexually explicit tattoo on his stomach. Prosecutors say they believe the tattoo is what sparked the tire iron beating from Lee because they say he supposedly thought the man was disrespecting him.

The transient suffered a broken arm and several cuts to his head.

Lee and his attorney declined to comment at court Thursday but have said they deny all charges. In earlier interviews with the LA Times, Lee’s attorney Philip Kent Cohen said the homeless man “made explicit threats” at the people in the vehicle Lee was in.

Lee showed up to court on his own account. He posted a $60,000 bond in January at the time of his arrest.

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