UPDATE, 8:14 AM: Jamie Otis is now in police custody and waiting to be formally booked at the Men’s Central jail in downtown L.A. The suspect in the early Wednesday morning destruction of Donald Trump’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star was arrested by the LAPD at his home sometime around 7 AM today, sources confirm.
Otis had planned to hold a press conference at 9:30 AM this morning on Hollywood Blvd at the location of the already being repaired Trump star. Accompanied by his lawyer, Otis was then going to head over to the Hollywood Police station and turned himself in, he told Deadline last night.
— Cory Palka (@lapd2014) October 27, 2016
With damages of over $400, the felony vandalism charge could see Otis in jail for up to 3-years and paying out fines of over $10,000 if found guilty. LAPD and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce estimated on Wednesday that the damage Otis’ sledgehammer and pick-ax did to the now Presidential candidate’s nearly decade old star was around $2,500. The Chamber, who administer the Walk of Fame for the city, quickly had a repair crew out in front of the Dolby Theatre yesterday working on getting the smashed star back in shape after Otis’ 5:45 AM attack on it. That process of repair will take about a week, Chamber boss Leron Gubler told Deadline on Wednesday.
Otis is expected to have to post a bail of more than $25,000, a source with knowledge of the matter says.
PREVIOUSLY, OCT 26 PM: The man who destroyed Donald Trump’s Walk of Fame star on Hollywood Blvd this morning says he’s prepared to go to jail if necessary. “I think I’ll have to handle the consequences of what I’ve done,” says James Otis, who could face three years in jail and more than $10,000 in fines under California law for the act of vandalism. “I will gladly pay the money if I have to and if I must go to jail, I will.”
Sounding calm, Otis says he has spoken to the LAPD since the incident and is pondering whether to turn himself in. “Either today or tomorrow — if we can do it today by 5 PM that’ll be fine with me,” Otis revealed, saying he would likely surrender at the Hollywood Police Station.
“I’m happy to go to trial,” Otis added, saying he will be talking to lawyers soon. Once he gets legal advice, though, that happiness might wane a bit: In California, being found guilty on a felony vandalism charge can result in 1-3 years in jail and a fine of $10,000 or more if the damage is more than $400 – which in this case it is.
The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which administers the more than 2,500 stars currently on the Walk of Fame, says it want want to see the guilty party punished to “the full extent of the law.”
Despite smashing Trump’s star in the pre-dawn hours (as you can see in Deadline’s exclusive video footage), Otis was unsuccessful in removing the tribute to the Apprentice host-turned-GOP Presidential candidate. His plan had been to auction off the star next month to raise money for the 11 women who have come forward recently to accuse Trump of sexual assault over the years.
“This sounds more like a publicity stunt than a political statement,” Hollywood Chamber president-CEO Leron Gubler said of the desecration today. “We have filed a police report and are talking to the City Attorney’s office.” He noted that the Walk of Fame sidewalk is actually the property of the City of Los Angeles, and jurisdictional matters still need to be determined. “We are watching events unfold with interest,” Gubler said.
“There has been no arrest,” LAPD Officer Sal Ramirez told Deadline this afternoon, noting that there is no official confirmation that Otis is the man who defaced Trump’s star.
At the time of going at Trump’s star with a pick-ax and sledgehammer, Otis openly gave his intention and name as “Jamie Otis.” Now he says, “I will have to face justice and hope it goes in my favor.”
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