Case Dismissed Against Man Accused of Stealing Frances McDormand's Oscar

The criminal case against a man accused of stealing actress Frances McDormand's Oscar from a table at the Governors Ball after the 2018 Academy Awards was dismissed Tuesday.

Terry Bryant, 48, had been facing a felony grand theft charge.

According to Paul Eakins, spokesman for the District Attorney's Office, prosecutors announced in court Tuesday "that we are unable to proceed at this time."

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Sam Ohta then granted a defense request to dismiss the case.

Bryant took a video of himself holding the Oscar at the motion picture academy-sponsored after-party in March 2018 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."

During a preliminary hearing in the case, Cesario Tio, who works for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, testified that he learned near the end of the Governors Ball that McDormand -- who won the Oscar for best leading actress for her role in "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" -- had left her award on a table and that she couldn't find it.

He testified that he saw a tuxedo-clad Bryant come out of the ball with an Oscar raised over his head and heard him yelling, "We did it! We did it!," but he didn't recognize the man and asked him which award he had won.

The academy employee said Bryant responded, "Best producer -- Get Out," which he knew was not a category. The employee also said the photographer with him zoomed in on digital images he had taken of Bryant with the award and saw a portion of McDormand's name on the trophy.

The academy employee said he followed Bryant to the top of the stairs at the Hollywood & Highland complex, grabbed the Oscar from him and turned it over to another employee.

Los Angeles Police Detective Debra Malinowski testified that she spoke later that month with McDormand, who said she didn't give permission to anyone other than her son to carry the Oscar. The detective said the actress told her she had placed it at a table at the bar, gotten distracted and walked away and then realized it was missing.

Bryant was arrested and later released on his own recognizance.

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.

Bryant and his attorney have repeatedly denied any effort by Bryant to actually steal the Oscar. In an interview earlier this year with ABC7, Bryant said, "I just want people to know that I'm not a thief. I meant no harm by this."

His attorney, Daniel Brookman, told the station the case is a "big deal over nothing," questioning why Bryant would have posted a live-stream of himself with the Oscar on Facebook if he was actually trying to steal the Oscar.

"There was no theft -- it just seems to be a big tempest in a teapot," Brookman said.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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