Lawyer: Dave Chappelle ‘Upset’ Armed Attacker Not Charged with a Felony

The man charged with attacking comedian Dave Chappelle during a performance in May has ple
Twitter/Jed Simon

Dave Chappelle is “upset” that the armed assailant who stormed onto the stage to physically attack him during his performance in Los Angeles on Tuesday isn’t being charged with a felony, the comedian’s lawyer said.

“It’s a travesty of justice that DA [George] Gascòn is refusing to prosecute this case as a felony,” Chappelle’s attorney Gabriel Colwell told New York Post. “The City Attorney, who filed the case, is doing his job but DA Gascón should also do his job and charge this as a felony.”

The suspect, 23-year-old Isaiah Lee, was instead charged with a misdemeanor after storming onto the stage. Lee appeared in court on Friday and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

“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 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,” Chappelle’s attorney added.

Colwell went on to say that “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,” Colwell said.

Gascòn’s office, however, said they couldn’t prosecute Lee on a felony charge because video of the attack did not show the 23-year-old brandishing the knife during the incident.

“Our office also could not charge Mr. Lee with a felony of carrying a concealed weapon,” LA County Da Office Greg Risling spokesman told The Post. “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.”

Instead, the LA City Attorney hit Lee with four misdemeanor counts: 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 charges is just 18 months in jail and a $4,000 fine if convicted.

During the hearing, Lee’s public defender suggested the 23-year-old be sent to “rapid diversion,” a California program that allows eligible defendants to avoid jail time if they complete “treatment” or some type of educational class.

Colwell, however, disagreed, doubling down that Lee had been in “possession of a deadly weapon” during the attack.

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