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Man faces felony charge in defacing of Trump’s star, pleads not guilty

Spiderman assists Gregg Donovan, former Hollywood ambassador, making sure nobody steps into the crater created when a pitch-fork-wielding man destroyed Donald Trump's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

A man who said he took a pickax to Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame has been charged with felony vandalism, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office announced Wednesday.

On July 25, Austin Clay, 24, of Glendale, called Los Angeles police and told them he had defaced the president’s star on Hollywood Boulevard near Highland Avenue, authorities said. The attack almost completely obliterated the star, including Trump’s nameplate.

[Clay pleaded not guilty on Wednesday, the Los Angeles district attorney’s office said, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

He told reporters outside the courthouse: “I don’t personally think that there should be any charges brought against me. Because what I did, I believe, was a rightful and just act. I think that the repercussions of it were only positive. I only wanted to bring about positive political change,” KABC reported.]

Private security officers in the area attempted to intervene but couldn’t stop the man because they don’t have police powers, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

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By the time police officers arrived at the scene, the man was gone, the LAPD said.

About an hour later, officials said, Clay walked into Beverly Hills police headquarters and said he wanted to turn himself in.

LAPD officers picked him up soon afterward.

Since the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump’s star has endured several episodes of vandalism, including a spray-painted swastika and a “mute” icon. People have been seen stomping on it, spitting on it and writing on it. A photo of a pile of dog feces on the star went viral two years ago.

In October 2016, another man was caught on video bashing the star with a sledgehammer. He was also charged with felony vandalism.

If convicted, Clay could face a maximum sentence of three years in jail.

Bail is recommended at $20,000, the district attorney’s office said.

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© 2018 Los Angeles Times

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.