Suspected Fox News Christmas Tree Arsonist Released Without Bond A worker disassembles a Christmas tree outside Fox News headquarters, in New York, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021. (Richard Drew/AP)
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Thursday, 09 December 2021 12:03 PM
The man suspected of setting fire to the huge Fox News All-American Christmas tree outside the News Corporation building housing Fox, The New York Post, and The Wall Street Journal has been released without bond under New York City's bail reform legislation.
Craig Tamanaha, 49, is facing several misdemeanor charges including arson, reckless endangerment, criminal trespass, and criminal mischief after he allegedly set the tree on fire shortly after midnight Wednesday, reports The National Review.
Because all of the charges are misdemeanors, Tamanaha is free on bond through legislation that started at the beginning of 2020 that prohibits courts from setting bail for people facing misdemeanor charges.
Tamanaha's father, Richard Tamanaha, of Hawaii, told The New York Post that his son is well known to police, is homeless, and has a history of drug abuse and that he can't control him.
NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea confirmed in an interview on WPIX radio that the suspect 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," said Shea. "He also has some low-level arrests out of state — I believe it’s Texas.”
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.
"This has become a new wonderful tradition on FOX Square over the last three years,” Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott told employees in a memo.
Fox News' Lawrence Jones and Abby Horancek, who co-hosted the first tree-lighting ceremony, will return to light the new tree. They will be joined by Fox News stars Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt, Janice Dean, Pete Hegseth, Rachel Campos-Duffy, Todd Piro, and Carley Shimkus, along with Mike Rowe, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, and other notables.
Scott said there were no injuries from the fire, but smoke from the blaze "permeated" the News Corp. building.