The lawyer of a man suspected of brutally beating a transgender woman claims his client was acting in self-defense. Nicol Shakhnazaryan, 21, pleaded not guilty Monday to charges that he assaulted 22-year-old Vivian Diego in the Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles, Calif., reports KTLA. Outside the courtroom, Shakhnazaryan's lawyer told KTLA reporters that he was simply trying to protect himself. "This was done in self-defense after a weapon was drawn and people were stabbed," said the attorney, who wasn't identified during the news segment. "A box cutter was found with the victim, on the victim at the time."