When Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of fame was vandalized with a pickax in July, it was unclear what punishment the man responsible for the crime would face. 24-year old Austin Mikel Clay smashed the star and recorded the act, the video footage of which went viral. He pleaded not guilty in August, but told reporters he believed it was “a rightful and just act.”
Now Clay has been sentenced for the crime, receiving three years probation and an order to attend psychological counseling. Further, he has to pay more $9,400 to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce for the damage.
He pleaded no contest to a felony count of vandalism, but noted that he believed the action would “bring about positive political change” and didn’t believe he should be charged.
Trump’s star is in recognition of the now-president’s work on the TV show The Apprentice. It was repaired following the pickax damage.
In the video, Clay is seen hammering at the star at 3 a.m. on July 25, 2018 as passersby look completely unfazed by his actions. Clay fled, left the ax behind and called police to confess. At the time, he was arrested on $20,000 bail.
That wasn’t the first time that Trump’s star had been destroyed, as in November 2016, James Otis, who dressed as a construction worker, also used a pickax to vandalize the star. He pleaded no contest to felony vandalism in February 2017 and was sentenced to three years of probation, with 20 days of community service and $4,4000 in fines.
Otis said he hoped to remove the star and auction it, donating the money he raised from its sale to the women who had accused Trump of sexual assault.
Trump’s star has faced other tampering over the years as well, notably being defaced and destroyed when he declared his candidacy for president in 2015. The star had been spray painted, a “mute” symbol was once painted onto it, as well as images like a reverse swastika.
The “mute” sign was believed to have been in protest of Trump’s language used during his campaign, in an effort to silence his rhetoric.
In August, West Hollywood city council approved a motion to remove Trump’s star from the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but their vote is not legally binding as they have no control over the area. They are required to send a formal letter to the Los Angeles city council and Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to request consideration for its removal.
No star has ever been removed before, however.
Among the many comments left on social about Clay’s sentencing for the vandalism was one person who noted: “Normally I don’t support vandalism or violence of any kind, but Trump has done so much bad for this country. He has ruined lives, and made the future much much harder to protect.”
Another commenter agreed, adding: “Trump has brought us to a place where childish actions are the rule of the day. I’m not mad at the guy but really what did he accomplish?”
Clay set up a GoFundMe page to pay the fees he owes the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.