Entertainment Celebrity Sexual assault the motive for Trump’s star vandal

Sexual assault the motive for Trump’s star vandal

James Otis wanted to raise money for Donald Trump's accusers. Photo: YouTube.
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Making a point about sexual assault was behind the defacing of Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Wednesday (US time).

A resident of Los Angeles and non-violent activist James Otis has claimed responsibility for the attack and took to YouTube to explain his actions.

“The reason I did it was because of the amount of sexual assaults that not only my own family has experienced, but the many women that Donald Trump has done this to,” Mr Otis said.

“The point of the exercise was to take the star and auction it off and take that money and distribute it to the women who have been sexually assaulted by Donald Trump.”

But despite using a sledgehammer and pickaxe, he managed to only get away with the emblem and the name, and not the star itself.

See James Otis explaining his motives

Otis has since been arrested and he faces a felony vandalism charge. Los Angeles police told NBC news the case against him will be presented to the district attorney, who must decide whether to press charges.

Detective Meghan Aguilar says investigators were called to the scene before dawn on Wednesday following reports that the presidential candidate’s star was destroyed by blows from a pickaxe.

Deadline Hollywood obtained video and posted it to YouTube:

Mr Otis said he planned to auction the star on election day to raise money for the 11 women accusing the presidential candidate of groping them.

Mr Trump has denied the groping allegations.

Aguilar says she’s aware of the Deadline report but couldn’t comment on whether Mr Otis is a suspect.

Donald Trump Hollywood star
Donald Trump and his family in January 2007 after being lauded with a Hollywood Star. Photo: M Tran/FilmMagic

Mr Trump’s star was dedicated in 2007 in recognition of his work on NBC’s reality TV show The Apprentice.

Trump on hustings detour

Meanwhile, Mr Trump took a detour from his campaign to be president – to promote a newly opened hotel.

Responding to criticism that he couldn’t afford time out from the trail given the state of his poll ratings, a top aide said the move would remind voters of his business accomplishments less than two weeks before the election.

Donald Trump hotel Washington
Donald Trump with his family at the opening of the new Trump International Hotel in Washington DC. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Mr Trump, a real estate developer making his first run for elected office, is trailing his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in national opinion polls.

“It’s a quick pit stop,” campaign manager Kellyanne Conway told CBS program This Morning, speaking at the Trump International Hotel, which opened for business last month about a mile from the White House.

Mr Trump, a former reality TV star, has held numerous events at his properties since launching his White House bid in June last year, including a trip to Scotland to open a refurbished golf resort in June this year.

His campaign has stressed his credentials as a wealthy businessman, although Ms Clinton and other political opponents have long pointed out that Mr Trump’s career includes business failures, and have also criticised him for not making public his tax returns.

Trump hotel protest
Protestors outside the historic post office building in Washington where Donald Trump’s new hotel has been built. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

Republican strategist Steve Schmidt, who led 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain’s campaign, said the hotel stop was the latest inexplicable act from Mr Trump and was atypical behaviour for someone trying to win the White House.

“The walls are collapsing,” Mr Schmidt told MSNBC in an interview.

“He is not doing any of the normal activities that you’d be doing 13 days out in a presidential race for somebody who’s competitive. You don’t take a time-out to tend to your business interests.”

Ms Conway defended Mr Trump’s decision to leave the campaign for a business stop, noting that Ms Clinton went to a concert by singer Adele on Tuesday night in Miami, where the former secretary of state celebrated her birthday.

Ms Clinton turned 69 on Wednesday.

“Hillary Clinton has time to go to an Adele concert, and everybody thinks that’s really cool. Donald Trump stops off to unveil just an incredibly stunning piece of architecture and new … first-class hotel and everybody’s hair’s on fire,” Ms Conway told NBC’s Today program.

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