Artist Pleads Not Guilty in Ai Weiwei Vase Smashing

Tuesday, Mar 18, 2014  |  Updated 2:11 PM EDT
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Artist Pleads Not Guilty in Vase Smashing

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MIAMI BEACH, FL - DECEMBER 03: View of artwork by Ai Weiwei during the Media and Professional preview at Art Basel Miami Beach at Miami Beach Convention Center on December 3, 2008 in Miami Beach, Florida (Photo by Logan Fazio/Getty Images)

A South Florida artist has pleaded not guilty to criminal mischief charges in which he is accused of smashing a vase that was part of a museum exhibit by noted Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei.

Maximo Caminero's attorney John de Leon said Monday he filed the written plea and asked for a jury trial. Even so, Caminero previously apologized for smashing the vase in February and told police it was to protest lack of support for local artists.

The vase was on of 16 in an Ai installation at the Perez Art Museum Miami. Police put its value at $1 million, but Ai said in an interview he thought that was an exaggeration.

Caminero is charged with criminal mischief over $1,000, which is a felony.

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