02.09.11 7:49 PM ET
Lindsay Lohan's Giddy Day in Court
The troubled star, who faces three more years of jail time, shared a laugh with her lawyer before pleading not guilty to stealing a $2,500 necklace. The judge warned Lohan, “Please don’t push your luck.”
Lindsay Lohan pleaded not guilty Wednesday afternoon to stealing a $2,500 necklace from a jewelry store in Venice Beach, the latest tangle with the law for the Freaky Friday and Mean Girls actress, whose life has turned into a media circus over the past three years.
Gallery: Lindsay Lohan Timeline
Before the proceedings began, the 24-year-old actress sat giggling alongside her lawyer Shawn Chapman Holley in the ninth-floor Los Angeles courtroom, as dozens of paparazzi, radio and television reporters, and young female fans sat nearby. Lohan, who arrived uncharacteristically early for the hearing, was clad in a tight-fitting white dress and black pumps, with her long blond hair in a ponytail. Two burly Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies escorted her into the packed courtroom.
The actress’ mood quickly changed to somber and serious when Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Keith Schwartz entered the brightly lit courtroom. Lohan’s case was the first item on the bearded judge’s plate. Holley stood up when Schwartz asked Lohan how she would plead to one count of felony grand theft, and the attorney said Lohan was “not guilty.”
On Jan. 22, Lohan allegedly took the “one of a kind” gold necklace with semi-precious stones from Kamofie and Co., a trendy Venice Beach boutique not far from her home.
The storeowner reported the alleged theft of the necklace to the Los Angeles police. On Feb. 1, the LAPD’s Pacific Division obtained a search warrant to search Lohan’s Venice apartment for the piece, but it was handed over to police before the search warrant was served, according to police. Investigators presented their case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office last Wednesday.
The troubled star came under suspicion after she was allegedly seen on the store security video wearing the necklace before it was reported missing. Lohan has reportedly denied the allegations, saying she was loaned the necklace.
At her arraignment, she spoke briefly when the judge asked her if she knew what she was being charged with. “Yes, your honor,” she replied.
Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Danette Meyers asked the judge to revoke Lohan’s probation. Holley told the judge that Lohan had tested clean for drugs and was considered a “good probationer” by her probation officer.
“A good probationer doesn’t pick up a new case,” Meyers retorted.
Schwartz, who said it appeared Lohan had violated her probation, warned the actress to abide by the law or face more jail time. “What I am telling you is you need to follow the law like everybody else,” he said. “Everyone in this room has to follow the law…You are no different than anybody else. Please don’t push your luck. Your attorney can tell you what I said. Do you understand what I tell you?”
“Yes, your honor,” Lohan chirped.
During the brief hearing, Schwartz ordered Lohan to stay away from the Venice Beach jewelry store, saying the storeowner became “alarmed” when she received flowers from Lohan.
If convicted of grand theft, Lohan could face up to three years in state prison, according to the district attorney’s office. Lohan’s bail was set at $40,000. She was released from custody an hour after she posted bail.
Outside the packed courthouse, a “Free LiLo” sign hung from an apartment balcony.
Lohan is on probation for drunken driving, and she is facing potential prosecution by Riverside County prosecutors for shoving an employee at the Betty Ford Center, where she was being treated. The employee later told police that she did not want to press charges.
Lohan arrived at the center, in Rancho Mirage, after she admitted to failing a drug test soon after being given early release from another rehab facility. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Elden S. Fox told Lohan that he would put her in jail for six months if she violated her probation again.
Lohan’s legal troubles have taken a serious toll on her acting career. Her comeback role as porn star Linda Lovelace was recast last year while she was at Betty Ford.
If convicted, Lohan will join a long list of celebrities with sticky fingers, including Charlie’s Angels star Farrah Fawcett, who was arrested twice in 1970 for shoplifting clothes from two boutiques; Winona Ryder, who was caught on video trying to carry out more than $5,000 worth of merchandise from Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills; and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s daughter, Caroline, who was nabbed for pocketing $150 worth of cosmetics.
Lohan’s next court date is scheduled for Feb. 23.
Christine Pelisek is staff reporter for The Daily Beast, covering crime. She previously was a reporter at the LA Weekly, where she covered crime for the last five years. In 2008, she won three Los Angeles Press Club awards, one for her investigative story on the Grim Sleeper.