Dave Chappelle ‘upset’ attacker isn’t facing felony charge: lawyer
Dave Chappelle is “upset” his alleged armed attacker wasn’t hit with a felony charge after attacking him while holding a weapon on-stage at the Hollywood Bowl, his lawyer told The Post on Friday.
“It’s a travesty of justice that DA [George] Gascòn is refusing to prosecute this case as a felony,” the comic’s attorney Gabriel Colwell said. “The City Attorney, who filed the case, is doing his job for him but DA Gascón should also do his job for him and charge this as a felony.”
The 48-year-old comedian’s lawyer called on the DA to reconsider the charges, shortly after Isaiah Lee, 23, pleaded not guilty to four misdemeanor counts over the caught-on-camera attack on Chappelle during his Tuesday show.
“This was a violent assault that was perpetrated on an unsuspecting entertainer while he was giving a show in front of thousands of people at the historic Hollywood Bowl,” Colwell, a partner at Squire Patton Boggs, said.
“The idea that [Lee] had a deadly weapon on him — one that was a replica of a handgun that had a knife — that is a violent assault.”
He added: “Entertainers in LA need to know this is a justice system that will protect them. There is no question here that when someone is violently assaulted by another in possession of a deadly weapon that it should be charged as a felony.”
Gascón’s office insisted Friday they wouldn’t have been able to prosecute Lee on a felony charge because video of the attack didn’t show him brandishing the knife at Chappelle.
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“Our office also could not charge Mr Lee with a felony of carrying a concealed weapon. Filing that charge would only be allowed if the blade is locked in an open position. It does not appear that Mr Lee opened the knife at any time during this incident,” Greg Risling, a spokesman with the LA County DA’s Office, told The Post.
“We evaluated the possibility of filing other charges as well, but found the evidence did not meet the statutory criteria for any felony offense. All misdemeanor matters within the city of Los Angeles are referred to the City Attorney’s Office for filing consideration.
“It would be unethical to charge someone with a felony when the elements of the statute are not met.”
The DA’s office was initially investigating the case after Lee was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon — but ended up referring it to the LA City Attorney’s Office on Thursday, saying the high-profile incident did not warrant felony charges.
A few hours later, the LA City Attorney slapped Lee with four misdemeanor counts, including battery, possessing a deadly weapon with intent to assault, unauthorized access to the stage area during a performance and commission of an act that delays the event or interferes with the performer.
Chappelle’s attorney said he believes the maximum penalty for the four misdemeanor counts is a year and half in jail and a $4,000 fine.
During Lee’s hearing, the accused’s public defender said the 23-year-old was a good candidate for “rapid diversion” – a California program that allows eligible defendants to avoid serving jail time if they complete treatment or some form of educational class.
Colwell said they disagreed, doubling down that Lee was in “possession of a deadly weapon.”
The attorney declined to comment when asked how Chappelle was doing physically and mentally after the high-profile attack.