The man who allegedly attacked comedian Dave Chappelle during a show in Los Angeles was denied his shot at freedom by a judge on Tuesday.
Isaiah Lee, 23, appeared in a Los Angeles County courtroom, where Judge Armenui Ashvanian rejected his public defender’s bid for him to be released on his own recognizance and left his bail unchanged at $30,000.
Lee did not speak and sat next to his attorney, Chelsea Padilla, who told the judge her client was on track to receive housing, which he could lose if he remained in jail, she said.
Padilla also told Ashvanian the popularity of Lee’s alleged victim shouldn’t be a factor in her client’s right to be released since a protective order has already been placed on him regarding Chappelle.
“It would be a significant hardship placed on Mr. Lee if he’s not released,” Padilla said to the judge. “He does have ties to the community and at most we are asking for house arrest with an ankle monitor.”
LA City Deputy Attorney Giselle Fernandez countered that Lee had several prior run-ins with the law — including a battery charge that was reduced to a disturbing the peace charge in San Bernardino.
Lee was also arrested for assault with a deadly weapon in 2018 and for felony larceny in New York in 2015, according to Fernandez, who mentioned a song Lee produced that was named after Chappelle.
“The conduct in this case was very egregious with regards to what Mr. Lee did,” Fernandez said. “It was premeditated and … Mr. Lee had a weapon on him when he did this act … The people feel this crime was premeditated. He is a risk to public safety.”
Ashvanian agreed with Fernandez, saying Chappelle’s stardom didn’t play a role in her refusal to release Lee.
“The court has to look at the seriousness of the offense — whether or not there was any injury to the victim, threats of injury, use of a firearm or weapon, and the defendant’s prior record of failing to appear,” the judge said. “To make a determination you mentioned, Ms. Padilla, the fact that the victim might be a celebrity has something to do with bail. That’s not a factor.”
Lee’s pretrial date has been set for May 20.
The appearance came one week after Lee allegedly tackled Chappelle, 48, on the stage during a comedy show at the Hollywood Bowl while armed with a knife that appeared to be a handgun.
Lee pleaded not guilty to four misdemeanor charges while making his initial court appearance on Friday.
Padilla, denied Friday that her client ever pulled out the bizarre weapon during the caught-on-camera attack.
Lee, who was roughed up by security, was the lone person hurt during the alleged assault, Padilla said in court Friday.
He was initially arrested for felony assault with a deadly weapon, but was ultimately charged with misdemeanor 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.
The charges were filed by the LA City Attorney’s Office after the LA County district attorney handed off the case because it doesn’t prosecute misdemeanor charges in Los Angeles.
Chappelle, meanwhile, said he spoke to Lee backstage after the alleged attack and before he was hauled off by cops, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Chappelle told the crowd at a secret comedy show that Lee launched into a story about his grandmother being forced out of her Brooklyn neighborhood due to gentrification, the outlet reported.
Lee believed the attack would bring more attention to his grandmother’s situation, said Chappelle, who added he thought Lee appeared to be mentally ill.
Lee’s attorney told a judge Friday that her client, who appeared in court in a padded suicide gown, was receiving mental health services. Judge Wendy Segall ruled Lee’s bail would remain unchanged at $30,000 during the proceeding.
Lee’s older brother, Aaron Lee, has told Rolling Stone that the Brooklyn native had been in and out of homeless shelters for the past decade and struggles with mental illness.