Nicol Shakhnazaryan, a 21-year-old Los Angeles resident, pleaded not guilty to charges of battery with serious bodily injury and assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury. The attack happened around 2:30 a.m. May 31 on the 6200 block of Hollywood Boulevard.
Surveillance video shows the 22-year-old victim walking near Ivar Avenue and being followed by four male suspects. The victim was knocked to the ground by one of the men and then kicked and beaten by all of them.
The victim was hospitalized for a week with severe injuries. Shakhnazaryan's attorney claims the victim was the aggressor.
"There's more to the story than the way the media and the way the prosecution has relayed that it's a hate crime, where they just assaulted this person. The victim is not your typical victim. The evidence will show the victim is the person who assaulted the defendant and his friends," said attorney George Mgdesyan.
The other suspects have not been arrested. Shakhnazaryan faces up to eight years in prison if convicted.
Police patrols have been increased in the popular Hollywood tourist destination following this attack as well as the fatal stabbing of a woman.
Christine Calderon, 23, was attacked and killed last Tuesday after snapping photos of three men who were holding signs and panhandling along the Walk of Fame. Authorities said Calderon was stabbed after she refused to give the suspects a dollar. The three suspects in that case have been arrested and charged.