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.


How 3 New Zealanders made Riyadh into a new home

Glenn and Gaelene are impressed with Saudi Arabia’s progress. (Supplied)
Updated 23 September 2018
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How 3 New Zealanders made Riyadh into a new home

  • With the ban on women driving lifted, Louise is thrilled to be driving herself to and from work and carrying out her own errands

JEDDAH: Over the past few decades, Saudi Arabia has been home to many an international expatriate. And like most foreigners who know little about the country before they visit for the first time, they quickly come to learn that you shouldn’t believe everything you hear.
Louise Adam relocated to Saudi Arabia in 1982 to work as a locum dental hygienist at a local public hospital. Now working at a private dental clinic in Riyadh 36 years later, Louise has found a comfortable (and permanent) place for herself in Riyadh.
She lives with her two Pomeranian dogs — Besame and Tallulah — and two cats — Lucy and Fico. In her spare time, she tends to her home garden, which is embellished with distinctly Saudi touches. Beneath shady palm fronds and local flowers, she even has a Bedouin tent in the yard.
Given that most of the population is under the age of 30, Louise has lived in Saudi Arabia longer than most Saudis. She has seen the reign of four Saudi kings, witnessed nearly every major expansion of the city of Riyadh, and experienced Saudi Arabia’s technological and cultural revolutions. “And it still amazes me, when I see the city, how far it’s managed to come in such a short time,” she said. “It makes me so excited to think of where it can go.”
Glenn Lovell, a lawyer, initially relocated to Saudi Arabia for what was supposed to be a two-year period in 2008. However, when that time frame was extended, he asked wife Gaelene to come and join him in Saudi Arabia. The couple have been living in Riyadh since 2010 and have been watching the progression of things in Saudi Arabia with a mix of astonishment and delight.
“One of the things I love about Saudi is that when they decide to change something, they can change it practically overnight,” Gaelene said, “things like the decision to let women drive. It feels like anything can happen in an instant.”
Glenn and Gaelene, passionate travelers and enthusiastic desert explorers, have devoted a fair chunk of their free time to exploring the country. Among their exploits are a visit to the Al-Wahbah Crater, the Mastodon Cave, the Taif Rose Festival, Mada’in Saleh, and other places that Gaelene documents in her blog, “Kiwi Living in Saudi.”
The two of them can often be found wandering off-road into the desert for what they referred to as “a bit of camping,” and don’t seem to be worried about getting lost out there. “No GPS required,” Glenn said, “it’s all instinct.”
Glenn and Gaelene found themselves pleasantly surprised by the sheer generosity that they have been shown while camping outside the city. Glenn recalled the time they came across a Bedouin man in the desert during their search for the Mastodon Cave, who despite not speaking any English, managed to invite them to his house for dinner and to put them up for the night. In the morning, they were escorted to the cave by members of his household.
“And it’s happened more than once,” Gaelene said, “they feed us, ply us with coffee and dates, give us a place to spend the night if we need it. It’s incredible.”
“Saudi people are the most generous, hospitable people I think I’ve ever come across,” Louise said.
With the ban on women driving lifted, Louise is thrilled to be driving herself to and from work and carrying out her own errands. “The future is bright for Saudi women,” she said.
“They’ve got so much potential,” Glenn said. “We have a few young Saudi girls at the office who have really impressed me with their professionalism, their drive and their passion.”
On the subject of Vision 2030, they were keen to offer their perspective on the future of the Kingdom.
“To be able to see those things, to see how much things have changed recently, it’s amazing to witness,” Louise said. “It’s extremely different, but I think it’s a positive kind of different,” Louise said.
“Saudi Arabia is right on the brink of a new age. I can’t wait to see them prove themselves in the next few years.”
Life here, however, has not been without its challenges for the three Kiwis. “It’s not always been easy,” Glenn admitted, “and of course, we’ve seen problems, but for the most part, we do love it here.”

“Absolutely,” Louise added. “After all, none of us would’ve been here this long if we weren’t happy.”
You can follow the Lovells’ adventures on Gaelene’s blog, kiwilivinginsaudi.com.