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May 22, 2024

Brosnan Pleads “Not Guilty” to Yellowstone Trespassing

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Jan 18, 2024

Actor Pierce Brosnan and his wife Keely Shaye Smith were seen leaving a Wyoming courthouse on January 17th after entering “not guilty” pleas on charges related to walking off trail in Yellowstone National Park’s thermal areas.

Brosnan, known for playing James Bond in four films during the 1990s, was issued a citation by Yellowstone park rangers back in September 2023 after photos surfaced of him walking with his wife near the iconic Old Faithful geyser. The incident drew much media attention and reignited debates over protecting Yellowstone’s fragile thermal areas.

The Charges

According to court filings, Brosnan faces two Class B misdemeanor charges:

  1. Foot travel in thermal areas
  2. Disorderly conduct – creating hazardous condition

The charges each carry a potential six month jail sentence and fines up to $5,000. However, jail time is seen as unlikely if convicted.

Brosnan’s attorney entered a written not guilty plea following his arraignment. A trial date has been set for early April.

Brosnan’s Defense

The Irish-American actor claimed he and his wife did not see any signs or barriers prohibiting walking off boardwalks in the Old Faithful area.

“My wife and I are deeply committed to protecting nature and its wonders,” Brosnan told reporters outside the courthouse. “We meant no harm on our visit to Yellowstone, and we will work with authorities to resolve this misunderstanding.”

Brosnan’s lawyer has indicated they will mount a “mistake of fact” defense at trial i.e. they simply did not know walking near Old Faithful’s thermal features was illegal under park rules.

The Incident

On September 11, 2023, multiple eyewitnesses observed Brosnan and Smith walking near the famous Old Faithful geyser and adjacent hot springs. Some bystanders even took photos of the couple, who were clearly off the designated boardwalks.

Exclusive Photos Obtained by TMZ:

Brosnan Yellowstone Photo 1

Brosnan and wife seen near Old Faithful geyser (Photo: TMZ)

Brosnan Yellowstone Photo 2

Another photo showing the couple walking off boardwalk (Photo: TMZ)

Park officials rely on visitors to stay on marked trails and boardwalks to avoid damage to fragile thermal ecosystems. Straying into restricted areas risks injury from scalding water or thin crust. Over the years, dozens have been burned or killed by falling into hot springs.

Once notified, Yellowstone rangers quickly identified Brosnan and Smith from the photos. The couple had already left the park when the ticket was issued by mail.

Not Their First Offense?

This may not have been Brosnan’s first time wandering off trail in a National Park. Back in 2018, a Scottish newspaper published photos showing Brosnan walking cross-country in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The images drew some outcry from conservationists at the time:

Brosnan Hawaii Photo

2018 photo of Brosnan hiking off trail in Hawaii park (Photo: The Scottish Sun)

When questioned by reporters in Wyoming last week, Brosnan’s lawyer declined to comment on whether his client had a history of park infractions.

Fallout

Brosnan’s court appearance has dominated entertainment news for several days as fans and critics react. Some key developments:

  • Social media backlash – Thousands took to Twitter and Facebook to criticize Brosnan’s conduct and blast celebrities who feel rules don’t apply. “These thermal areas need to be protected, no one should be above the law!” read one typical post.

  • Petition started – A Change.org petition called “Don’t let celebrity status weaken park rules” has collected over 25,000 signatures asking the judge to levy the maximum fine if Brosnan is convicted.

  • Past defenders backtrack – In 2018, several actors had spoken out to defend Brosnan after the Hawaii photos emerged. But his fellow celebrities have been generally silent this time around. Actress Britt Ekland, who had called the Hawaii incident “no big deal”, said she could not condone Brosnan’s actions in Yellowstone.

Looking Ahead

Brosnan faces an uphill battle convincing the court he was unaware of park hiking restrictions. Yellowstone posts prominent warnings about thermal area dangers all over the park. And the actor is facing a Wyoming judge who has come down hard on tourist misconduct in the past.

In 2021, a vlogger was given a 10-day jail sentence for wandering off trail on the highly fragile orange mudpots. The judge stated celebrities and influencers especially need to consider the example they set.

But Brosnan has ample resources to fight the charges. Supporters point to his environmental advocacy, noting he produced several films that boosted reef conservation. He may play up his eco credentials when arguing he deserves a light sentence.

Either way, the case will bring renewed attention to balancing rules and education around visiting America’s treasured National Parks. Other celebrities are surely paying attention too…

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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