Disgraced Vietnamese comedian Minh Beo pleaded not guilty to felony charges of sexually abusing a minor as he appeared at an arraignment in Santa Ana, California on Friday.
The entertainer, 38, entered the plea before Superior Court Judge Craig Robison at the Department CJ-1, Central Jail at 10:00 am (U.S. time).
Following the arraignment, Minh Beo will appear at a pre-trial on May 13, and stands his first-instance trial on June 10, with both proceedings taking place at a Westminster court.
Minh Beo’s older sister and brother have come to the U.S., but they were not allowed to either see the jailed sibling or attend his arraignment.
At the arraignment, Minh Beo was represented by attorney Do Phu, who is famous among the Vietnamese community in the U.S.
Attorney Phu demanded a cut in the US$1 million bail set for Minh Beo, saying it is “unfair.”
Minh Beo and his lawyer Do Phu (L) are seen at the arraignment in this photo taken from a video screen. Photo: OC Register
He added that his client would surrender his passport and wear an electronic ankle monitor to assure he would not try to escape the country.
But the request was rejected, as prosecutors were concerned Minh Beo would flee once released on bail, especially when the U.S. does not have an extradition treaty with Vietnam.
Minh Beo, whose real name is Hong Quang Minh, was charged with three felony counts, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA).
They include one felony count of oral copulation of a minor, one felony count of attempting to commit a lewd act upon a child under the age of 14, and one felony count of meeting a minor with the intent to engage in lewd conduct, according to an OCDA press release.
The Vietnamese entertainer faces up to five years and eight months in jail if convicted.