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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Southern California

Pinkberry Co-Founder Pleads Not Guilty in Homeless Assault

Lee to return to court March 5.

Pinkberry co-founder Young Lee pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of assault with a deadly weapon against a homeless man last June.

If convicted Lee, 47, could face up to seven years in jail.

Young Lee, 47. (Photo courtesy Pinkberry)
Young Lee, 47. (Photo courtesy Pinkberry)

Lee is accused of attacking a man along the 101 Freeway with a tire iron after the man had allegedly exposed a sexually explicit tattoo.

The homeless man suffered a broken arm and several cuts to his head from the attack.

According to Lee’s lawyer Philip Kent Cohen, the victim "made explicit threats as if he had a weapon.”

Witnesses called police with the license plate number to a Range Rover that was rented in Lee’s name.

Lee was arrested Jan. 17 at LAX and released on $60,000 bail.

Pinkberry released a statement saying, "that Pinkberry values the communities [they] serve and stands against acts of violence of any kind, especially those involving the most vulnerable among us."

“This case is emblematic of how the homeless are among the most vulnerable in our society,” Lt. Paul Vernon of the Los Angeles police said in a statement. 

Lee left the popular frozen yogurt chain in 2010.

Customers commented on the official Pinkberry Facebook page Monday saying that the case will not affect their purchases.

Some have said that they will "not stop buying Pinkberry." Others expressed worry that if they make purchases at Pinkberry "part of the profits [are still] going to him."

Lee is scheduled to appear again in court on March 5.

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