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L.A. Trans Woman's Attacker Gets Probation, Five Years After Crime

Assault victim Vivian Diego
Assault victim Vivian Diego

Nicol Shakhnazaryan is the second to be sentenced in the 2013 attack on Vivian Diego.

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Five and a half years after attacking transgender woman Vivian Diego in Los Angeles, Nicol Shakhnazaryan has been sentenced to probation, avoiding jail time.

Shakhnazaryan, 26, was sentenced Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court to two and a half years' probation, L.A. TV station KCBS reports. He was also sentenced to 30 days' community service, which he has already performed. He had pleaded no contest to a felony assault charge, but the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor as a result of a plea deal.

Diego was attacked by a group of four men on Hollywood Boulevard in the early morning of May 31, 2013. They knocked her to the ground and kicked her in the head and body; the assault was captured on security video. Diego was hospitalized for a week for injuries that included a broken jaw, a shattered cheekbone, cracked ribs, and hearing loss.

"Emotionally and mentally, that healing process is going to be ongoing," Diego told KCBS. "Physically I think I'm OK."

A second suspect in the attack, Samuel Garents, pleaded no contest last year to a misdemeanor assault charge and received three years' probation.

The men had been tried previously in connection with the attack, but a mistrial was declared after the emergence of a police report saying Diego was an aggressor in the fight, according to KCBS. In addition to the surveillance video, there was reportedly video showing her "making some sort of stabbing or slashing motion" while a man falls to his knees, the station notes. But that video was never shown in court.

Diego's attorney, Gloria Allred, said there is no basis for claim of Diego's aggressive behavior. "I think it's just nonsense," Allred told the TV station. "How convenient not to have any video there that would support that argument. But even more to the point, had she been guilty of a crime, they would have charged her."

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.