Frances McDormand's Accused Oscar Thief Pleads Not Guilty
The man accused of stealing Frances McDormand's Oscar made his first court appearance on Wednesday, pleading not guilty
Terry Bryant, 47, was arrested on suspicion of felony grand theft after he allegedly stole the gold statue at the Governors Ball, Los Angeles Police Department told PEOPLE.
He handed over the statue when a photographer didn’t recognize him, confronted him, and notified security, LAPD Sgt. Meghan Aguilar told The Los Angeles Times.
Prior to that, Bryant had posted a Facebook Live video from inside the Governors Ball — holding up the golden statue and saying, “This is mine. We got it tonight, baby!” He was also captured on camera holding the Oscar proudly over his head and saying, “All right baby boys and baby girls,” on the red carpet, in video taken by the Associated Press.
Bryant had an official ticket to the party, Aguilar told the Times.
He has been behind bars since Sunday, on $20,000 bail.
Appearing in a blue jail jumpsuit at his arraignment on Wednesday, Bryant was joined by his attorney, Daniel Brookman — who called Bryant’s felony charges excessive and undeserved as the incident was a momentary aberration.
“There’s a big difference between holding an Oscar and what he’s charged with,” Brookman said outside court, the AP reported. “I don’t think his character matches these charges.”
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Deborah S. Brazil agreed to release Bryant without bail, despite Bryant’s four prior felony convictions on theft-related charges and his numerous failures in the past to appear in court, ABC-7 reported. Bookman had argued Bryant represented no threat to the community and had not had any contact with law enforcement in six years.
If convicted, Bryant could face a maximum of three years in county jail, ABC-7 reported.
McDormand, 60, won the Oscar (her second) on Sunday for her role in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. The Best Actress winner later realized her Academy Award was missing at the annual bash, after she had the statue engraved with her name. She left the party with her husband, Joel Coen, before security returned it to her.
“I can confirm that after a brief time apart, Frances and her Oscar were happily reunited last night,” McDormand’s rep told PEOPLE. “They celebrated their reunion with a double cheeseburger from In-N-Out.”
The Fargo star has said she does not want anyone charged in connection with the theft, The Times reported, but since the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences controls the rights to the statue and was listed as the victim in the police report, McDormand doesn’t have much of a say.
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Meanwhile, Bryant seems to have a history of grabbing trophies at awards shows — sharing photos of himself previously holding a Screen Actors Guild award, a MTV Movie & TV award, and even, an Oscar (from inside the 2017 Vanity Fair afterparty).
Brookman said Bryant considers himself an amateur journalist and attends red carpet events in an effort to become a professional one, the AP reported.