WEST HOLLYWOOD—On Wednesday, August 15, 24-year-old Glendale resident Austin Mikel Clay pled not guilty to one count of vandalism. On July 25 at around 3:30 a.m., President Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was smashed to pieces by a pickaxe.
According to the Beverly Hills Police Department, Clay turned himself in after the incident. He was booked Clay and released him on $20,000 bail at around 1 p.m. the following day.
Outside of court on Wednesday, Clay told CNN, “When I look at the lineage of presidents, I don’t think anything about his rhetoric is presidential. There was urgency behind my actions. I feel like I’ve been called to do what I did.” Clay is scheduled to return to court on August 21. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 3 years in jail.
The city of West Hollywood requested the removal of Trump’s star from the walk of fame on August 7, which was the same day that Clay was charged with vandalism. The West Hollywood City Council vote to remove the star held no legal standing, because the city doesn’t have any jurisdiction over the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
President of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Leron Gubler responded by stating: “Once we receive a communication from the City of West Hollywood, it will be referred to our Executive Committee for consideration at their next meeting. As of now, there are no plans to remove any stars from the Hollywood Walk of Fame.”
Clay’s vandalism marks the second destruction of President Donald Trump’s walk of fame star in two years. In 2016, a man was arrested after he admitted to hacking at the star with a pickaxe. After the recent destruction of Trump’s star, on August 9, a street artist group called “The Faction,” recreated a few replicas of the star on the Walk of Fame. The group wrote on Twitter, “Keep taking down the @realdonaldtrump star, and we will further spread Trump Derangement Syndrome by installing a never ending stream of stars.”