LOS ANGELES (AP) — A lawyer for the man charged with stealing Frances McDormand’s Academy Award said Wednesday that he and his client plan to “forcefully and aggressively resist” the allegations against him.
Attorney Daniel Brookman acknowledged that suspect Terry Bryant can be seen on an Associated Press video holding McDormand’s best actress statuette but those images don’t rise to the seriousness of felony grand theft.
“There’s a big difference between holding an Oscar and what he’s charged with,” Brookman said outside court, where Bryant was arraigned Wednesday and pleaded not guilty. “I don’t think his character matches these charges.”
Los Angeles Superior Court Deborah Brazil ruled Bryant, 47, did not pose a risk to the public and said he will be released on his own recognizance.
Bryant walked out of the Governors Ball Oscars after-party with the trophy on Sunday night, authorities said. He was captured on the AP video holding it proudly over his head and saying, “All right baby boys and baby girls.”
He quickly gave it up when confronted by a photographer, police said.
McDormand won the Oscar, her second, for her performance in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”
Bryant could get three years in jail if convicted.
AP footage from earlier Sunday shows Bryant walked in to the Governors Ball alongside McDormand, although there is no indication they knew each other. McDormand smiled and laughed as she entered the party and her son carried her Oscar into the party, the footage shows.
Naomi Levy, a rabbi who came to court to support Bryant, said he is part of her spiritual congregation and never misses a meeting.
“He’s a sweet and gentle man of faith,” Levy said.