LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Two men pleaded not guilty Monday to charges stemming from the beating of a man during a melee in the Dodger Stadium parking lot after an Elton John concert last November, with defense attorneys saying outside court that they expect their clients to be exonerated.
Reece Hopkin, 38, and Chad Reeves, 42, are each charged with one felony count of battery with serious bodily injury. Hopkin also faces one felony count of vandalism or destruction of property, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
The melee -- some of which was caught on video -- occurred at about 11:30 p.m. Nov. 17 following a "fender bender" after the first of the singer's three sold-out shows at Dodger Stadium that weekend, Los Angeles police said.
The entertainment website TMZ posted video capturing some of the violence.
Video in the immediate aftermath of the attack shows the man lying motionless on the ground, still being assaulted -- possibly by multiple assailants -- even as others attempted to curtail the violence. The man's wife is seen being pulled by the hair as she attempts to check on her husband.
Reeves' attorney, Glen Jonas, told reporters outside court after the arraignment that the "District Attorney's Office should be embarrassed for filing this garbage."
"... This is a case where the so-called victim attacked a woman, attacked my client and then ultimately ended up losing the fight. That just makes him stupid. It doesn't make him a victim," Jonas said. "But what's more interesting in this case is that he has a prior history, prior convictions for perjury, insurance fraud, false police report, receiving stolen property and grand theft. Now if you focus on the first three -- perjury, insurance fraud and false police report -- what does that tell you about him? It tells you that he's a stone-cold liar, and yet some moron in the D.A.'s Office decided this would be a good case."
The defense attorney said he believed the District Attorney's Office opted to file the case because there was a "viral video so they get press attention which they sorely desire and want, but the kind of attention they're going to get isn't going to be positive. It's going to be negative because they will lose this case."
Hopkin's attorney, R.J. Manuelian, described his client as a "family man."
"Undoubtedly we're going to get a not guilty verdict and I look forward to showing the evidence in this case. We will take it all the way to trial," Manuelian told reporters. "My client is innocent. He was just protecting his wife. He was doing nothing wrong and this case should have never (gotten) filed."
The man suffered a concussion and a broken ankle, among other injuries, CBS2 reported. The female victim said she was knocked unconscious, along with her husband, whom she tried to revive for about 45 seconds, believing he had died, before he finally regained consciousness, it was reported at the time.
A woman claiming to be the victims' daughter -- and a nurse -- posted later on Instagram that her father was hospitalized with fractures and head injuries and that both parents "were left unconscious on the ground." She claimed four men and two women attacked the couple and that neither bystanders nor security officers made any attempt to stop them.
In a statement announcing that the case had been filed last month, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said, "What started out as a night of entertainment and revelry ended in violence."
"Verbal disagreements should never take such a dangerous turn. I want to thank the LAPD for their thorough investigation and our prosecutors who meticulously reviewed the case to determine what charges should be filed," the district attorney said. "We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure that our entertainment venues are safe for all."
Gascon said the violence stemmed from a dispute between a woman and the 64-year-old male victim in the stadium's parking lot. Hopkin and Reeves allegedly became involved and began assaulting the man, according to the District Attorney's Office.
As the defendants walked away, a man who was recording the incident on his phone followed the pair. Hopkin is accused of grabbing the man's phone and throwing it on the ground, according to the District Attorney's Office.
A date is scheduled to be set June 27 for a hearing to determine if there is sufficient evidence to allow the case against Hopkin and Reeves.
The two men remain free on bond.