Man Suspected of Torching Fox News' Massive Christmas Tree Set Free Hours After Incident Thanks to Bail Reform
The man charged with setting the Fox News Christmas tree on fire Wednesday is now walking the streets of New York City.
Craig Tamanaha, 49, faces multiple misdemeanor charges after being arrested early Wednesday. He was charged with arson, criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and criminal trespass in connection with the torching of the 50-foot artificial tree outside in the city’s Fox Square.
But New York City law that allows most offenders to walk free spared Tamanaha from staying in jail, according to the New York Post.
Enacted in January 2020, the so-called reform law no longer requires cash bail for most misdemeanors and non-violent crimes.
The purpose of the change, championed by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo and supported by liberal groups, was to reduce the number of people in jail who cannot afford bail.
.Craig Tamanaha. Say his name. He is out of jail in NYC after allegedly setting the @FoxNews Christmas ?on fire. #CraigTamanahahttps://t.co/fGegZQVtQQ
— Randy Economy (@EconomyRadio) December 9, 2021
“I didn’t do it!” Tamanaha said after being given his get-out-of-jail pass in court Wednesday, according to the Post.
“The moms that want to rape their f—ing daughters — they set it on fire,” he said before asking reporters for a cigarette.
Matthew Bayley, assistant district attorney, said at the arraignment that Tamanaha was “not charged with a bail-eligible offense.”
In New York, arson rises to felony level only if it is considered a hate crime or an attempt to hurt someone, criminal defense attorney Mark Bederow said.
Judge Marisol Martinez Alonso gave Tamanaha a supervised release based on the request of prosecutors.
Tamanaha was told to return to court on Jan. 4 and appeared confused by the judge’s order.
“Today I have to be here?” he said.
Tamanaha allegedly used a lighter and maybe accelerants to cause property damage worth $500,000, police sources told the Post.
His father said Tamanaha is homeless and a drug abuser.
“I think he wanted to get onto the news,” said his father, Richard Tamanaha, of Hawaii, according to the New York Post. “He wants attention.”
“Oh, he’s a nut. I can’t control him. Mentally, he’s not all there.”
Outgoing NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea called Tamanaha “an individual that’s known to us — he has a series of low-level arrests and drug arrests.”
“He was issued some earlier this year — some appearance tickets and didn’t come back to court, which unfortunately is something we see all too often. He also has some low-level arrests out of state — I believe it’s Texas.”
Shea recently called “the resulting crime that has flowed from disastrous bail reform law” as “insanity.”
Meanwhile, Jeenah Moon, a freelance journalist, alleges that Tamanaha exposed himself to a group of media representatives outside the Ghislaine Maxwell trial last week, according to the Post.
“I saw him walking around the square where media parks. He had a little weird behavior,” Moon alleges.
“He exposed himself to a female photographer and other people.”
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