The man who stands accused of setting fire to the enormous, All-American Fox News Christmas tree outside of the News Corporation building in New York has just been released without meeting bail requirements, courtesy of New York City’s bail reform legislation.
The suspected arsonist, 49-year-old Craig Tamanaha, currently faces several charges classed as misdemeanors in connection to the arson. These charges include criminal mischief, reckless endangerment, and arson, all of which stem back to the incident that occurred shortly after midnight on Wednesday.
During this time, Tamanaha allegedly set the Christmas tree on fire. The tree had been stationed outside of the News Corporation building, which is home to Fox News, The New York Post, and The Wall Street Journal.
Since all of the charges Tamanaha faces are misdemeanors, he is now free on bond via legislation that began at the start of 2020. This legislation bans courts from setting minimum bail for individuals who face exclusively misdemeanor charges.
Tamanaha’s father, who is from Hawaii, indicated that his son is a well-known figure to police. In addition, he is also homeless and has a long history of drug abuse.
According to NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, Tamanaha has been in trouble for a “series of low-level arrests and drug arrests.”
Shea noted that Tamanaha had been issued with several “appearance tickets” ordering him to go to court, though Tamanaha declined to make an appearance.
“Unfortunately [this] is something we see all too often,” Shea continued, adding that Tamanaha has other “low-level arrests” from outside of the state, which are believed to have occurred in Texas.
In response to the arson, Fox News has built a new tree in Fox Square, and it held a lighting ceremony on Thursday during the channel’s “The Five” program.
According to Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott, the Fox News Christmas tree “has become a new wonderful tradition on FOX Square over the last three years.”
Fox News has built a new tree in Fox Square and plans to hold an on-air lighting ceremony Thursday during its “The Five” program. The destroyed tree was lit on Sunday, just a few days before it was set on fire.
Scott also noted that the fire had not resulted in any injuries, though smoke from the fire did “permeate” the building.