Suspect in News Corp Tree Arson Released without Bail

Craig Tamanaha, who was charged with setting fire to a Christmas tree outside the Fox News headquarters, is detained by police outside a court in New York, N.Y., November 29, 2021. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

The suspect who allegedly set fire to the Christmas tree outside the News Corporation building in midtown Manhattan, which houses Fox News, the New York Post, and the Wall Street Journal, was released without bail on Wednesday, the Post reported.

Craig Tamanaha was charged with various misdemeanors including arson, reckless endangerment, criminal trespass, and criminal mischief, after allegedly setting the tree on fire. Courts are prohibited from setting bail for defendants charged with misdemeanors, except for criminal contempt or sex offenses, under New York’s bail reform legislation, which took effect at the beginning of 2020.

Tamanaha, 49, is known to police and is homeless with a history of drug abuse, his father Richard Tamanaha, of Hawaii, told the Post.

“I can’t control him,” Richard Tamanaha said. “Mentally, he’s not all there.”

NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said Craig Tamanaha “has a series of low level arrests and drug arrests,” in an interview on WPIX radio. “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. He also has some low-level arrests out of state—I believe it’s Texas.”

Fox News will install a new tree at Fox Square outside the News Corporation building, and will hold an on-air lighting ceremony for the tree’s replacement.

“This has become a new wonderful tradition on FOX Square over the last three years,” FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott wrote in a message to employees. “We are currently planning on a lighting ceremony for the new tree and will send those details once we have them.”

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.