The 24-year-old man who allegedly used a pickaxe to destroy President Donald Trump's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is facing felony charges.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Clay Austin, 24, has officially been charged with felony vandalism, a charge that carries a maximum sentence of three years in jail, after he allegedly reduced the president's star to rubble in July.
It is alleged that Austin concealed a pickaxe in a guitar case during the early morning hours of July 25 and used the weapon to destroy the President's star. It is believed that after committing the crime, Austin fled the location on Hollywood Boulevard near Highland Avenue before calling Beverly Hills Police to report the crime. He later turned himself in to Beverly Hills police, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Austin, who pleaded guilty to the charge, defended his actions following his Wednesday, Aug. 15 court appearance.
"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," Austin, who is due back in court on Sept. 21, told reporters. "I think that the repercussions of it were only positive. I only wanted to bring about positive political change."
Trump's Hollywood Walk of Fame star has been the center of several incidents in recent years, the majority of which have been politically motivated.
In October of 2016, James Lambert Otis was arrested after he used a pickaxe to vandalize the star and confessed that he had attempt to extract the star in order to auction it off to raise money for the women who accused Trump of sexual assault. A 6-inch high concrete wall with razor wire was constructed around the star in July 2016 to represent Trump's proposed border wall, and in 2017, permanent marker was used to write "F– Trump" across the star.
Earlier this month, an anonymous artist and a group of allies called "The Faction" placed dozens of look-alike stars, made of sheets of floor vinyl with adhesive backing, along the Hollywood Walk of Fame in response to the vandalism.
The constant string of vandalism, along with protests that are commonly centered around the star, led to the West Hollywood City council unanimously voting to have the star removed. However, Trump's star will reportedly remain where it is as both the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and the Los Angeles Police Department have chosen not to extract it.