YouTube prankster pleads no contest to running onto court during Cavs Finals game
CLEVELAND, Ohio — The YouTube prankster who ran out on to the court during an NBA Finals game at Quicken Loans Arena pleaded no contest to charges on Wednesday — and drew a few laughs in the process.
Vitaly Zdorovetskiy, 24, of Beverly Hills, California, entered the plea to a first-degree misdemeanor charge of trespassing in a place of public amusement. Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Lauren Moore fined Zdorovetskiy $1,000.
"Is it too late to say sorry?" Zdorovetskiy said during the hearing. Moore then questioned him about his motives.
"This is your thing isn't it?" she said.
"I'll never come back here again," Zdorovetskiy said. "Unless the Cavs make the finals again."
His last remark drew chuckles from the 10 people waiting for their cases to be heard and from Moore.
"We're happy to watch you from far away on YouTube," assistant city prosecutor Angela Rodriguez said.
Zdorovetskiy's attorney, California attorney Avonte Camphina-Bacote told Moore the NBA banned Zdorovetskiy from attending any games for a year.
"He promises to be respectful if he returns to Cleveland," Camphina-Bacote said.
Zdorovetskiy, who has more than 9 million subscribers to his YouTube channel and recently started in a movie "Natural Born Pranksters," walked out of the court room and immediately started taking a video of himself.
"Thanks Judge Moore," he said into his camera. "Stay sexy."
Zdorovetskiy ran onto the court during the final minutes of Game 4 on June 10 at Quicken Loans Arena. He was shirtless with the message "Trump sucks" written on his chest and "LeBron for President" on his back.
Security guards tackled him and escorted him from the court in handcuffs.
Zdorovetskiy said after the hearing he is neither a basketball fan nor politically-interested. He also said his decision had nothing to do with Cavs star LeBron James posting a video on Instagram after he ran out onto the pitch during the2014 World Cup Finals.
"I did the World Cup for fun, and I guess it became a big thing," Zdorovetskiy said. "My adrenaline told me I had to do the three biggest sports, the Super Bowl the NBA Finals and the World Cup. I just had to do it."
Zdorovetskiy was kicked out of last year's Super Bowl after security recognized him.
While in town for the game, Zdorovetskiy said he went to Jack Casino, where he said he won $5,000 playing roulette. After he was kicked out of the Cavs game he went back west, and again ran into the Cavs.
After they won the NBA championship, the team stopped off in Las Vegas to celebrate at the XS Nightclub at the Encore Casino. Zdorovetskiy said he was at the same club.
"They invited me to their table to party with them," he said. "They were all like— you're crazy."
Zdorovetskiy left the Justice Center to about two-dozen fans. He had promoted the court hearing on Twitter and encouraged fans to show up to support him, like he did before his June 29 hearing in Los Angeles.
He was sentenced in that case to 300 hours of community service and 160 hours of community service, one year of probation and a $3,000 fine for climbing to the top of the 45-foot Hollywood sign in California. He stood on top of the "D" while wearing camouflage and took video selfies.
Zdorovetskiy stood outside the Justice Center in Cleveland signed autographs, took photos and videos and talked with the fans for about a half-hour.
Some of the fans wore shirts that said "Trump Still Sucks" and "Vitaly for President."
"He does crazy stuff and he just doesn't care," said Kevin Lasota of Parma. "Him running onto the court was awesome."