A Los Angeles Superior Court judge tersely told Mean Girls actress Lindsay Lohan Wednesday that he’ll toss her in jail if she decides to take a plea deal offer by prosecutors.
Judge Keith Schwartz said Lohan, who was stylishly dressed in a low-cut black blouse and beige high-waisted trousers, her hair pulled back in a ponytail, would have to plead guilty or no contest to charges that she stole a $2,500 necklace from a trendy jewelry boutique in Venice Beach. It’s unclear what the plea deal offered by prosecutors entails.
“This case does involve jail time – period,” said Schwartz. “If you plead guilty in front of me – if this case resolves in front of me – You are going to jail. Period. There may be an issue with how much time.”
If Lohan decides against the prosecutors deal, the case will be set for a preliminary hearing with another judge. Lohan must make her decision by her next court date on March 10. Schwartz said he suspects that Lohan and her attorney, Shawn Holley, will reject the deal.
According to the judge, all of the police evidence, including surveillance footage and police reports, were handed over to Holley before the 8:30 a.m. hearing.
During the short hearing, Schwartz said he plans to treat Lohan like any other defendant in his courtroom. “I treat everyone the same,” he said. “I don’t care if you are Lindsay Lohan…I don’t want you to be a repeat offender. I want you to move on in your life and quit causing yourself and family additional stress that is not necessary.”
Schwartz said that Lohan should receive psychological counseling to help her cope with “stressors” and a trustworthy sponsor – not a member of her family – who will not be “moved by anything other than seeing you succeed.”
“I treat everyone the same,” said Judge Schwartz. “I don’t care if you are Lindsay Lohan.”
“You need someone who will help you stay away from substance abuse issues and alcohol issues and help you get on track to be a productive citizen and reach the potential you have,” he said.
“Do you understand?” he asked.
“Yes, your honor,” replied Lohan, quietly sifting through court papers.
Lindsay’s father, Michael, who was sitting in the front row sandwiched between the owners of Inspirations for Youth and Families, a teen rehab clinic where he works as a consultant, told The Daily Beast that Lohan should not take a deal.
“[Store staff] gave her a necklace to wear and promote and when it showed up in the paper after three days and the store wasn’t mentioned they got pissed off and reported it stolen,” he said.
Lohan, who said his daughter was at the store with two other friends who plan to testify on her behalf if the case goes to court, claimed that the police report of the incident gave three different accounts of what happened. He also claimed that he had a witness who saw the same “one of a kind” necklace on sale at the same store for $800, which would make the charge a misdemeanor petty theft and not a felony. “It was a misunderstanding,” he said. “I think the value of the necklace was trumped up. The whole situation is trumped up. She has worked hard on her recovery. It saddens me…The truth is going to come out and she will be vindicated.”
Lohan arrived at the airport courthouse with her mother, Dina, and her brother, Michael Jr. Lohan’s parents, who did not acknowledge each other in the courtroom, sat five seats from each other. After the court hearing, Michael Lohan became enraged when his ex-wife allegedly told a bailiff to stop him from getting on the elevator with her and Lindsay. “She is evil,” he barked.
Lohan pleaded not guilty on February 9 to stealing a gold necklace with semi-precious stones from Kamofie & 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.
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 February 9 arraignment, Schwartz 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. He also 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.
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.
The day after Lohan pleaded not guilty, she tweeted that she never steals. “…I would never steal, in case people are wondering. I was not raised to lie, cheat, or steal.” She later criticized the media on Twitter for focusing on her skin-tight white Glavis minidress. It also came out that detectives also looked into claims that the actress tried to leave the same store with a pair of earrings earlier. She was not charged in that incident.
In a bizarre twist, on February 16, fellow troubled actor Charlie Sheen, who was interviewed on The Dan Patrick Show, offered Lohan advice: "Just try to think things through a little bit before you do them."
The saga continues.
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.