The man who used a pickax and a sledgehammer to smash President Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame will be on probation for three years after pleading no contest to a felony vandalism charge, officials say.
The no-contest plea, which means defendants are neither admitting guilt nor denying the charges against them, was announced Tuesday, about four months after James Lambert Otis was caught on video wearing a hard hat and an orange construction vest as he smashed Trump’s star. The 53-year-old man then removed the brass medallion from the middle of the star, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
“I just sort of had enough with Mr. Trump’s aggressive language toward women and his behavior, his sexual violence with women and against women,” Otis told the Los Angeles Times in October. “I’ve had personally in my own family four people who have been assaulted or have had sexual violence happen to them. It all became very personal.”
Otis was arrested shortly after the incident and was charged in November with one count of felony vandalism. State law says a felony vandalism charge with more than $400 in damages could be punished by imprisonment or one year of jail time.
The Los Angeles resident has been ordered to pay $3,700 in restitution to the Hollywood Historic Trust, which grants and maintains the stars on the Walk of Fame. An additional $700 will be paid to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which operates the Walk of Fame. He also will have to do 20 days of community service.
The Oct. 26 incident happened amid mounting allegations that Trump, then a presidential candidate, groped and kissed women without their consent. Trump has denied the claims, calling them “totally and absolutely false.”
Less than three weeks before the vandalism, The Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold reported on Trump’s use of vulgar terms during a 2005 conversation caught on a hot microphone. Trump bragged about kissing and groping women while talking with Billy Bush, who worked for “Access Hollywood” at the time.
“Grab them by the p—y,” Trump said in the tape. “You can do anything.”
Trump later issued a short video statement apologizing for the remarks but also calling the revelation “a distraction from the issues we are facing today.”
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Otis said he’d spent weeks planning his “nonviolent action,” even spending a couple of nights in the area to determine the best time to do it. His original plan, according to the Associated Press, was to steal the star, sell it and give the money to the women who had accused Trump of groping them.
Trump’s star, which has also been vandalized with a swastika sign, has since been repaired and remains in place.
During a news conference in November, Otis, a Hillary Clinton supporter, called for Trump’s star to be permanently removed.
“There’s violence, now there’s anger, he’s dividing our country,” Otis said, according to ABC affiliate KABC.
He also threatened to sue Trump, his organization and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, according to the Orange County Register.
The billionaire real estate mogul and reality TV star got his spot on the Walk of Fame in 2007. His is the 2,327th star on Hollywood Boulevard.