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UCLA's Nikola Dragovic pleads not guilty

UCLA NCAA college basketball player Nikola Dragovic, left, appears with his attorney Jon Bryant Artz on a felony assault charge in Los Angeles County Superior Court Monday, Dec. 21, 2009, in Los Angeles. (Nick Ut)

December 21, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
UCLA basketball player Nikola Dragovic pleaded not guilty Monday morning in a Downtown L.A. courtroom, during his arraignment for charges of felony assault. The 22-year-old Dragovic is accused of knocking a man into a glass display case after a concert in Hollywood.

Prosecutors say Dragovic, and 21-year-old friend, Aleksandar Stanisic, got into an argument with another man and his girlfriend after an Oct. 24 concert at the Henry Fonda Theater in Hollywood. That's when they say Dragovic rushed the victim and knocked him into a glass display. The glass lacerated the man's Achilles tendon. Prosecutors say Stanisic then began punching the victim, until security officers and bystanders intervened.

Dragovic's attorney alleges that his client and the friend only acted in self defense and that evidence is mounting, showing the alleged victim was the actual aggressor.

Dragovic and his friend were each charged last month with one count of each assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury. Dragovic additionally faces an allegation of personal infliction of great bodily injury.

The 6-foot-9-inch forward from Serbia was initially suspended from the UCLA basketball team following his arrest, but he was reinstated last month.

Both Dragovic and Stanisic are free on bail. They are due back at the downtown Los Angeles courthouse on Feb.1, when a date is scheduled to be set for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to require them to stand trial.

AP contributed to this report.