An attorney for former ANTHRAX singer Dan Nelson has disputed allegations that his client beat two elderly men inside a Queens, New York hotel last month.
The 43-year-old musician is accused of punching the older men on August 30 at the Aloft New York LaGuardia Airport hotel in East Elmhurst.
The alleged attack happened after one of the victims asked Nelson a question that apparently set the singer off.
"One of the elderly gentlemen said something which caused [Nelson] to become enraged and he subsequently punched them," the police told the Daily News.
James Paolino, 74, one of the alleged victims, said he told the singer, "You had a rough night."
According to Paolino, he and his friend, 73-year-old Philip Falcone, went to the hotel because one of their friends was filling in for Nelson's regular drummer during a performance at the hotel. Nelson, he said, appeared too drunk to perform.
"He's whacked. He can't even tune his guitar. He had been drinking non-stop," Paolino told Daily News.
The alleged assault happened when Paolino and Falcone shared an elevator with Nelson after the show. After Paolino made the "rough night" comment, Nelson "started kicking me and punching me in the head," Paolino said. "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."
After Falcone tried to diffuse the situation, Nelson allegedly punched him too.
"I'm still shaking. It was very traumatizing. He knocked my hearing aids out. This guy is an animal," Falcone said.
After turning himself in at the 115th Precinct at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Nelson was charged with assault, assault with intent to cause physical injury and harassment. He was arraigned Wednesday night and released on his own recognizance. He was ordered to return to court October 11.
Attorney Marc Isaac, who has represented Nelson in the past, said Nelson disputes the allegations.
"I've seen the video, and what they're saying is not correct," Isaac told Daily News. "I can tell you that there was no bloody altercation. That's completely false."
Nelson was officially in ANTHRAX for nearly two years — from late 2007 until July 2009 — during which time he recorded an early version of the band's "Worship Music" album. After Nelson and the group split, the LP was temporarily shelved while ANTHRAX figured out its singer situation. Once Joey Belladonna came back into the lineup in early 2010, ANTHRAX went back into the studio and reworked the songs on "Worship Music" with Joey's vocals.
Nelson in 2012 settled a lawsuit he filed against ANTHRAX over the fallout from his departure from the veteran metal group. Details of the settlement were not made public.
The singer filed a lawsuit in November 2011 claiming that Charlie Benante (drums), Frank Bello (bass) and Scott Ian (guitar) falsely stated in "numerous interviews" that he had "abruptly resigned" after getting sick, forcing a cancelation of a tour. The $2.65-million suit also alleged that Benante told BLABBERMOUTH.NET that Nelson "was a bully."
The Long Island native said his ex-bandmates' "intentional defamation" caused him a loss of income and damaged his reputation.
Before reaching the deal, ANTHRAX attorney Brian Caplan told the judge that Nelson had been offered a "fairly small dollar amount" and co-authorship of eleven ANTHRAX songs that the band recorded for "Worship Music", according to the New York Daily News.