Man accused of stealing Frances McDormand’s Oscar denies grand theft

A man accused of stealing Frances McDormand’s Oscar from an after party will deny a charge of grand theft of property, his lawyer has said.

Terry Bryant, 47, allegedly swiped McDormand’s best actress Academy Award for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, as she celebrated at the Governors Ball ‪on Sunday night‬.

Lawyer Daniel Brookman said: “We intend to forcefully resist the charges and defend our client very aggressively.”

The lawyer was flanked by Bryant’s rabbi, Naomi Levy, who described him as a “sweet, gentle man of faith”.

Frances McDormand celebrates with fellow winners Sam Rockwell, Allison Janney and Gary Oldman (Ian West/PA)

Mr Brookman made the comment at a press conference at Los Angeles’ Foltz Criminal Justice Centre where Bryant was due to appear.

Prosecutors have said Bryant was witnessed taking the statuette before being detained near an exit.

In a since-deleted video selfie posted to Facebook, Bryant was seen dressed in a tuxedo being lavished with praise while clutching the award and courting congratulations.

“Look it, baby. My team got this tonight. This is mine,” he said, before planting a kiss on the Oscar’s head.

Bryant was also captured on video leaving the ball while brandishing the award to photographers, one of whom confronted him after not recognising him as a winner.

Mr 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 said that Bryant’s behaviour was “out of character for anyone”, but would not comment on his mental state.

Ms Levy, who said she has known Bryant for seven years, added: “I think we are living in an unusual time in America.

“I believe that maybe perhaps his story is a commentary on our whole society and its obsession with its 15 minutes of fame.”

Police said he handed the bronze statue back without a struggle and was arrested.

Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said he faces up to three years in jail if convicted and that a 20,000-dollar (£14,400) bail had been requested.

McDormand, 60, won her second best actress Oscar for Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Her publicist said she celebrated being “happily reunited” with the bronze statuette with a double cheeseburger from California’s In-N-Out Burger chain.

Bryant’s case has been adjourned until the afternoon.

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