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.


Thirty-three pregnant Cambodian women discovered in surrogacy raid

When the baby is delivered the terms of her agreement are that she will be paid $300 a month until the full $10,000 is paid off, Keo Thea said. (AP)
Updated 23 June 2018
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Thirty-three pregnant Cambodian women discovered in surrogacy raid

  • There are no official estimates of the number of Chinese babies delivered by surrogates, but media say it exceeds 10,000 every year
  • Clinics based in Asia are increasingly eyeing China, where health officials estimate that 90 million couples have become eligible to have a second child after a decades-old one-child policy was relaxed in 2015

PHNOM PENH: Thirty-three pregnant Cambodian women who were carrying babies on behalf of Chinese clients have been discovered during a raid on an illegal commercial surrogacy operation, police said on Saturday.
Five people, including a Chinese manager, were arrested following raids at two apartments in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, police said.
Cambodia had been a popular international destination for infertile couples looking to have babies through commercial surrogacy even though it is was made illegal in 2016.
Keo Thea, director of Phnom Penh’s anti-trafficking office, told Reuters on Saturday that five people, including four Cambodian women and the male Chinese manager, had been detained during a police raid on Thursday.
“Our authorities have charged them with human trafficking and being intermediaries in surrogacy,” Keo Thea said.
The pregnant women would not face charges at the moment, he said.
“They are carrying babies for Chinese nationals,” he said, adding that each woman was promised $10,000 for the service.
Once a woman becomes pregnant she receives $500. When the baby is delivered the terms of her agreement are that she will be paid $300 a month until the full $10,000 is paid off, Keo Thea said.
Keo Thea said the surrogacy operation had already provided about 20 babies to clients in China.
“Some were born in China and some were born in Cambodia,” Keo Thea said.
Clinics based in Asia are increasingly eyeing China, where health officials estimate that 90 million couples have become eligible to have a second child after a decades-old one-child policy was relaxed in 2015.
There are no official estimates of the number of Chinese babies delivered by surrogates, but media say it exceeds 10,000 every year.
Thailand and India have blocked foreigners from using commercial surrogacy services following a series of cases that raised concern about exploitation.
Thailand banned the practice in 2015 and subsequently several Thai clinics move across the border into Cambodia until commercial surrogacy was banned there the following year.