Judge: Man accused of McDormand Oscar theft will be released

Attorney Daniel Brookman, right, discusses the release of his client, Terry Bryant, in Los Angeles Superior Court Wednesday, March 7, 2018. (AP)
Updated 08 March 2018
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Judge: Man accused of McDormand Oscar theft will be released

LOS ANGELES: A lawyer for the man charged with stealing Frances McDormand’s Academy Award said Wednesday that he and his client plan to “forcefully and aggressively resist” the allegations against him.
Attorney Daniel Brookman acknowledged that suspect Terry Bryant can be seen on an Associated Press video holding McDormand’s best actress statuette but those images don’t rise to the seriousness of felony grand theft.
“There’s a big difference between holding an Oscar and what he’s charged with,” Brookman said outside court, where Bryant was arraigned Wednesday and pleaded not guilty. “I don’t think his character matches these charges.”
Los Angeles Superior Court Deborah Brazil ruled Bryant, 47, did not pose a risk to the public and said he will be released on his own recognizance.
Bryant walked out of the Governors Ball Oscars after-party with the trophy on Sunday night, authorities said. He was captured on the AP video holding it proudly over his head and saying, “All right baby boys and baby girls.”
He quickly gave it up when confronted by a photographer, police said.
McDormand won the Oscar, her second, for her performance in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”
Bryant could get three years in jail if convicted.
AP footage from earlier Sunday shows Bryant walked in to the Governors Ball alongside McDormand, although there is no indication they knew each other. McDormand smiled and laughed as she entered the party and her son carried her Oscar into the party, the footage shows.
Naomi Levy, a rabbi who came to court to support Bryant, said he is part of her spiritual congregation and never misses a meeting.
“He’s a sweet and gentle man of faith,” Levy said.


Gosling goes behind the camera for DRCongo book

Updated 36 min 18 sec ago
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Gosling goes behind the camera for DRCongo book

  • The actor teamed up with the Enough Project, which aims to address mass atrocities in conflict hotspots
  • “Congo Stories” guides readers from pre-colonial days through Belgian rule to independence in 1960, and the current situation under President Joseph Kabila

WASHINGTON: Actor Ryan Gosling is best known for films as diverse as “La La Land” and “First Man” but he recently moved behind the lens for a passion project — taking photos in the crisis-hit Democratic Republic of Congo.
The 38-year-old Gosling, who is Canadian, is no stranger to advocacy in Africa — for a decade, he’s been working with the Enough Project, which aims to end mass atrocities in the continent’s conflict hotspots.
On the DRC, he teamed up with the Enough Project’s founding director John Prendergast and Congolese activist Fidel Bafilemba to draw attention to the brutal colonization of the central African country.
In “Congo Stories: Battling Five Centuries of Exploitation and Greed,” the pair unpack the tortuous history of the mineral-rich DRC and how its residents are looking to the future — with photos by Gosling.
“It was just this theme of an unwavering resilience and an unwillingness to be broken, and these expressions of hope,” the actor said at a book event on Thursday at George Washington University in the US capital.
“It is hope that is generated from people like Fidel and Chouchou,” the two-time Oscar nominee added, referring to journalist and rights activist Chouchou Namegabe, who also contributed to the project.
Following a trip to northern Uganda in 2008, Gosling and Prendergast decided to head to the eastern DRC in 2010, to travel alongside Bafilemba.
“At the time, Ryan was just taking photos like he was some guy who’d never been to a place before and wanted to document what he was seeing,” Prendergast told AFP in an interview.
After mulling over a second trip years later, the pair decided instead to take Gosling’s photos, Prendergast’s research and Bafilemba’s interviews with Congolese “upstanders” — in other words, primarily young citizens working toward change — to create the book.
“Congo Stories” guides readers from pre-colonial days through Belgian rule to independence in 1960, and the current situation under President Joseph Kabila — whose successor will be chosen December 23 in what is already proving a turbulent election.
It details everything from the sale of slaves to work on US plantations to the vast exploitation of the gutting of the country’s remarkable array of resources.
From rubber and ivory at the turn of the 20th century, to uranium to develop the atomic bomb, and now the “three Ts” — tin, tantalum and tungsten — vital to mobile phones and laptops or cobalt, which is key to electric car batteries.
Conflict persists notably in North Kivu province on DRC’s eastern border, which has been subject to waves of bloodshed involving militias, rebel groups and government forces for more than 20 years.
The country, also ravaged by sexual violence, has not known a peaceful transition of power since gaining independence.
For Prendergast, the book not only “calls for solidarity” with the DRC, but asks readers “to challenge... those economic arrangements that have led to this extraordinary situation of human suffering.”
Bafilemba said he would like to see Americans place more pressure on their lawmakers to act.
“They need to pressure the administration, their Congress, their Senate to hold Congolese corrupt leaders to account by keeping them... on sanctions lists, freezing their assets, banning their travels into this country,” he said.
Bafilemba also called upon US students to pressure their universities — big buyers of mineral-packed electronics — to source conflict-free products.
“I’m not asking you (for) your dollars. Just be demanding that your companies stop (what) they have been doing back in Africa, and particularly in Congo,” he added.