Alleged Oscars thief denies grand theft of property

Updated / Thursday, 8 Mar 2018 07:38

Frances McDormand's alleged Oscars thief denies charge

The man accused of stealing Frances McDormand's Oscar at an after party on Sunday has pleaded not guilty to the charge of grand theft of property.

Terry Bryant allegedly swiped McDormand's best actress Academy Award for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri as she celebrated at the Governors Ball following the awards ceremony.

Before appearing in court on Wednesday, Bryant's lawyer Daniel Brookman said: "We intend to forcefully resist the charges and defend our client very aggressively."

The 47-year-old man appeared at the Los Angeles Foltz Criminal Justice Center on Wednesday where prosecutor Rena Durant told the court he has 13 primarily theft-related convictions from between 1994 and 2012.

However, Bryant was released from custody without having to pay bail after a judge heard testimony from his rabbi, Naomi Levy, who described him as a "sweet, gentle man of faith".

Judge Deborah Brazil said the rabbi's words and Bryant's apparent lack of danger to the public had convinced her to free him without bail.

Prosecutors say the 47-year-old was witnessed taking the statuette before being detained near an exit.

A video, which has since been deleted, appeared on Bryant's Facebook page which showed him holding the award while wearing a tuxedo.

"Look it, baby. My team got this tonight. This is mine," he said in the clip.

Outside the courtroom, lawyer Brookman addressed the footage, saying: "There's a difference between holding an Oscar and what he is charged with, so that will play out in court."

The lawyer added that Bryant's behaviour was "out of character for anyone".

When Bryant was leaving the ball, a photographer confronted him after not recognising him as a winner. Police say he handed back the statue without a struggle and was arrested.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said he faces up to three years in jail if convicted.