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Tommy Lee Swastika Tattoo Disputed

April 2, 1998 GMT

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Tommy Lee doesn’t want jurors to know about his swastika tattoo when he goes on trial for allegedly roughing up a Jewish paparazzi cameraman, according to court documents obtained Wednesday.

``The evidence has no bearing upon the disputed issues in this case,″ the rocker’s attorney, E. Todd Trumper, wrote in a motion to exclude the tattoo evidence.

Superior Court Judge Frances Rothschild will consider the request during an April 9 hearing.

``The swastika was not a reflection of Mr. Lee’s views. Instead it was simply a stupid tattoo obtained several years ago,″ the motion read, noting, ``The tattoo was insignificant to Mr. Lee and he eventually removed it so it no longer exists.″

The tattoo was visible on the Motley Crue drummer’s arm when he roughed up the cameraman outside a nightclub in 1996.

Lee pleaded no contest to criminal battery in the attack on Henry Trappler but faces a civil trial for allegedly throwing him to the ground.

Trappler suffered a displaced hip and other injuries. His lawyer, Gloria Allred, opposes the request to keep information about the tattoo from the jury.

``Mr. Lee’s attorneys are trying to exclude evidence relating to the swastika and we are opposing the exclusion. We think it’s important to be seen by the jury because on the night of the incident Mr. Lee’s arms were bared and the swastika was visible,″ she said Wednesday.

Trumper said reference to the tattoo would ``needlessly inflame the passions of the jury against Mr. Lee, causing it to evaluate the case based upon bias rather than merits.″

In the criminal case, Municipal Court Judge Elden S. Fox ordered Lee to undergo anger management counseling, placed him on two years’ probation and ordered him to pay $17,500 restitution to Trappler.

Trappler sued Lee in October for assault and battery, negligence and interference with his civil rights. He is seeking unspecified damages.