Alleged Fox Christmas tree arsonist reveals thoughts before setting it on fire: 'All day long'
Man accused of torching the Fox News' All-American Christmas tree was freed Wednesday night without bail
The man accused of torching a Christmas tree outside the New York City headquarters of Fox News was freed Wednesday night without bail — shortly after prosecutors reduced the number of charges against him from seven to three.
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"I have been thinking about lighting the tree on fire all day long," Craig Tamanaha allegedly told Detective Matthew Demaio after he set ablaze the artificial tree decorated in red, white and blue, according to court papers.
Tamanaha, 49, was arraigned on one count each of felony second-degree criminal mischief, misdemeanor second-degree reckless endangerment and misdemeanor fifth-degree arson.
New York criminal justice reforms enacted in January 2020 bar judges from setting bail on these charges. Criminal defense lawyer Mark Bederow told Fox News that Tamanaha would have had to be charged with third-degree arson as a hate crime for the case to be bail eligible.
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"I didn’t do it," the defendant told reporters as he exited the courtroom before hurling obscenities at them, according to video taken by the New York Post.
"The moms that want to rape their f—-king daughter’s — they set it on fire," Tamanaha shouted before asking reporters for a cigarette.
Tamanaha allegedly sneaked into the enclosure around the 50-foot tree outside Fox News headquarters in Midtown Manhattan at about 12:10 a.m. and allegedly lit it on fire, causing $500,000 in damage, according to the complaint.
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Police charged Tamanaha with seven counts — including criminal nuisance, criminal trespass, criminal tampering and disorderly conduct, which are also not bail eligible crimes.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office didn’t immediately return a request for comment on why they declined to hit Tamanaha with the seven charges for which he was arrested.
Freelance photographer Jeenah Moon told Fox News that Tamanaha had exposed himself Nov. 29 outside the Ghislaine Maxwell trial. "He was acting weird and pulled down his pants," she said.
The shutterbug snapped a pic of him as NYPD officers escorted him away. He was not arrested for the alleged indecent exposure.
FOX NEWS' ALL-AMERICAN CHRISTMAS TREE TO BE REBUILT, TREE-LIGHTING CEREMONY WILL AIR DURING ‘THE FIVE’
Meanwhile, Fox News plans to unveil a new All-American Christmas tree in Fox Square at 48th Street and Sixth Avenue during "The Five."
"We have planned for a new tree to be rebuilt and installed by Thursday afternoon as a sign of resilience and hope in the face of a horrible act," Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott wrote in an internal company email.
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Cardinal Dolan, Reverend Jacques DeGraff, Rabbi Joseph Ptasnik and members of the FDNY and NYPD as well as Christmas carolers will be present for the tree lighting, Scott said.
Tamanaha, who is homeless, faces a maximum of two to seven years in prison if convicted of the top count. He's due back in court Jan. 4.