The man who was arrested for torching the Christmas tree outside the New York City headquarters of Fox News and News Corp. has been released free on no bail.
The 49-year-old suspect, Craig Tamanaha, told reporters after leaving a Manhattan criminal courthouse that he ‘didn’t do it.’
Only a few hours before the holiday shoppers, tourists and many workers would come in hordes to flood the sidewalks and pedestrian plazas in the area, a fire broke out which was sending dangerous flames and thick smoke into the air outside the building at Sixth Avenue and West 48th Street.
According to investigators, a burning piece of cardboard was used to set the fire up on the 50-foot artificial tree.
It is estimated that the cost of the fire’s damage will cost about $500,000.
Criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and criminal trespass were the charges Tamanaha was facing, but all were considered misdemeanors, not requiring a bail payment under liberal New York City’s laws, according to Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bayley.
Mark Bederow, a criminal defense lawyer, told the newspaper that in order to be forced to pay bail, Tamanaha would have to be charged with a more serious charge of third-degree felony arson. He is also a vagrant with a long criminal record.
“The more serious arson offense occurs only when there is perceived intent to harm a person or an allegation of a hate crime,” said Bederow.
There were no injuries reported during this unusual Christmas incident.