LOS ANGELES, CA — The attorney for a man accused of stealing actress Frances McDormand’s Oscar from her table at the Governors Ball after the Academy Awards ceremony said Wednesday that he is hopeful that there will be a resolution to the case by the time his client is back in a Los Angeles courtroom on May 1.
Terry Bryant, 47, is charged with a felony count of grand theft for allegedly lifting McDormand’s Oscar statuette, which she won for her work in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” on the evening of March 4.
“We hope to have a resolution at that time (the next court hearing), and if not the matter will proceed to a preliminary hearing and the witnesses will be attending some time between the first of May and within a month or so after that,” defense attorney Daniel Brookman told reporters.
He said the charge his client is facing is “serious,” but said he doesn’t think “that the facts of the case warrant” the charge, which could carry up to three years behind bars.
“… I’m sure that once all the evidence comes in that the case will be modified somewhat,” Bryant’s attorney said. “It’s our hope that this charge will be dropped in its entirety, but that remains to be seen.”
Bryant was arrested by Los Angeles police the night of the Oscars ceremony and released from jail in the early morning hours of March 8 on his own recognizance, despite the prosecution’s objection.
Police said Bryant had a ticket to the Governors Ball at the Hollywood & Highland complex.
Bryant took a video of himself holding the Oscar at the motion picture academy-sponsored after-party and posted it online. It shows him holding the statuette and saying, “Look at it, baby. My team got this tonight. This is mine. We got it tonight, baby.”
A photographer who works for celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck subsequently took a photo of Bryant holding the Oscar while apparently making his way toward the exit and helped security detain him until police arrived, according to reports from the scene.
Bryant refers to himself online as an entertainment journalist and a film and music producer. His social media accounts also include photos of him at the Emmys, Screen Actors Guild Awards and MTV Video Music Awards. He has a minor criminal past in Oregon, with arrests from 1999 to 2002 for criminal mischief and theft, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The celebrity news website TMZ.com reported that McDormand has no interest in seeing Bryant prosecuted, but the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, which technically owns the statuette and is listed on the police report as the victim of the theft, wants the book thrown at him.
Bryant’s attorney said the defense is hoping to reach out to McDormand to “get her input on the case.”
Rabbi Naomi Levy told reporters outside court that she has known Bryant for a number of years. She noted that “people have been warning me to stay clear of this story because perhaps maybe it doesn’t reflect well on me or my community, but my conscience tells me that it’s not alright to distance myself from someone who needs help.”