A woman involved told KDKA that Lee was trying to protect her.By Pam Surano

NORTH BRADDOCK, Pa. (KDKA) — For the first time since his arrest on aggravated assault charges, North Braddock’s Democratic candidate for mayor was back before the borough council.

Cletus Lee said Tuesday he wants everyone to know that he’s pressing forward in his bid for mayor. Lee is facing two charges each of aggravated assault, simple assault, and harassment for his role in a fight last week near his home.

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(Photo Credit: KDKA)

A woman involved in the fight told KDKA that Lee was trying to protect her. She is calling the charges against him purposeful sabotage to his campaign for mayor.

“He’d be the first African American mayor in 146 years,” said Duprene Johnson, who was hurt in the alleged assault. “So they would not take my statement. All he did was protect me.”

Investigators say they had to break up a disturbance involving Lee and three women. Johnson said one of the women, a former girlfriend, thought she was involved with Lee.

Johnson said that then woman went after her.

“Initially, she tried to mace me and Cletus got into the middle of it. And she maced him and hit him for trying to protect me,” Johnson said.

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She said she was also hit in the head by the woman.

“I blocked the first punch and she connected with the second time on my ear,” Johnson said.

Johnson, who is a singer and an artist, said the blow ruptured two parts of her eardrum and left her with partial hearing loss.

Police say Lee went into the house and came out with a baseball bat, and court paperwork states that Lee hit a woman and her daughter.

“The mayor-elect really went beyond to save me. I could have been really, really hurt. And I think the charges are ludicrous,” Johnson said.

The police chief and no one on the borough council would talk about the charges on Tuesday. County police are handling the investigation.

Lee Has his preliminary hearing on July 27.

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Meanwhile, current mayor Albert Senic will face Lee in the November election as the Republican candidate.