Former Anthrax vocalist Dan Nelson has pleaded guilty to two charges stemming from an incident in August of 2019 that saw him assault two elderly men at a hotel in Queens, NY.
Nelson, 43, who fronted Anthrax for a brief stint between 2007 and 2009 but never released any music with them, stood accused of assaulting James Paolino, 74, and Philip Falcone, 73, after the men criticized him for performing drunk at an August 30, 2019 gig at the Aloft Hotel near LaGuardia Airport.
“He’s whacked. He can’t even tune his guitar. He had been drinking non-stop,” Paolino told the Daily News at the time, saying he was at the gig to support his friend, who was filling in on drums in Nelson’s band. Paolino ran into Nelson in the elevator, saying, “You had a rough night,” and that’s when Nelson lost it. “He started kicking me and punching me in the head. These were real MMA (mixed martial arts) kicks. He knocked me down. I’m on the floor bleeding. He broke my glasses and I knew the next kicks were coming for my head. I’m helpless.”
Falcone tried to cool Nelson down, but that only served to enrage him further. “I’m still shaking. It was very traumatizing. He knocked my hearing aids out. This guy is an animal,” he told the News. Eyewitness accounts
Nelson turned himself in at the 115th Precinct in Jackson Heights, Queens, on September 11, over a week after the incident. He was charged with one count of second degree assault for injuring a victim aged 65 or older and one count of assault, added later, of recklessly causing physical injury.
Nelson appeared in court on January 17 and pleaded guilty to both charges, according to documents obtained from the New York State criminal court system. Sentencing is scheduled for April 3.
Marc Isaac, Nelson’s lawyer for a parallel civil suit for which we have not been able to obtain any records, said in September his client denies the allegations: “I’ve seen the video, and what they’re saying is not correct. I can tell you that there was no bloody altercation. That’s completely false.” His criminal defense lawyer, Michael Arbeit, declined to comment at the time.
Nelson sued Anthrax in 2011 for $2.65 million for defamation of character and royalties he claims he was owed for his writing contributions to Worship Music, released that year. The case was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.
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