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California man takes plea deal for vandalizing Trump's Walk of Fame star, must attend psychological counseling

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 11/7/2018 NANCY DILLON
a man looking at the camera © GoFundMe campaign / Austin Clay

The California man charged with the pickax pulverization of Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last July took a plea deal Wednesday involving no extra jail time.

Austin Clay, 24, appeared in Los Angeles County Superior Court and pleaded no contest to one felony count of vandalism causing more than $400 in damage, prosecutors said.

He was sentenced on the spot to one day in county jail — which he already served with his arrest — as well as 20 days of community labor and three years of probation, officials said.

He also was ordered to attend psychological counseling and pay restitution of $9,404.46 to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.

Clay’s lawyers previously told the Daily News there was “no dispute” Clay visited the star on July 25 and performed an “act of civil disobedience” that was caught on tape.

© Reed Saxon / AP “There’s no doubt Austin is a very passionate man who feels very strongly about Trump’s actions and how they’ve affected him as a person and affected society as a whole,” defense lawyer Ben Perlmutter said.

“It’s no surprise that Trump’s rhetoric provokes this type of reaction,” he said. “It’s not surprising to see acts of civil disobedience. People are not okay with the status quo.”

Clay faced a possible maximum sentence of three years in jail if convicted at trial, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney.

According to police, Clay carried his pickax to the site of the plaque attack using a guitar case.

He then placed a 911 call reporting his crime and later turned himself in at the Beverly Hills Police station a few miles away, cops said.

“He did call to say he had vandalized the Trump star,” Lt. Karen Leong with LAPD’s Hollywood Division told The News. “He did say when he called, ‘See you soon!’”

Trump’s star has been the subject of several instances of vandalism in recent years.

James Otis, 54, took a pickax and sledgehammer to the star back in October 2016 and also pleaded no contest to one count of felony vandalism a few months later.

Otis was similarly sentenced to three years of formal probation, but the man who claims to be part of the Otis Elevator family was ordered to pay only $3,700 to the Hollywood Historic Trust and $700 to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.


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