The courtroom was different, the charge was more serious, but there was definitely a feeling of deja vu Wednesday as Lindsay Lohan again appeared before a judge and in front of scores of cameras.
Lohan sat in her familiar spot in the defendant’s chair next to her longtime attorney, Shawn Chapman Holley. She looked up silently as the judge lectured her about not being above the law and that this time, there would be consequences.
“You’re no different than anyone else, so please don’t push your luck,” Judge Keith Schwartz said at the end of the hearing at the L.A. Airport Courthouse. “If you violate the law, I will remand you and set no bail, and your attorney won’t be successful this time.”
Lohan was charged with stealing a $2,500 necklace from a Venice jewelry store. The felony grand theft charges are by far the most serious she’s faced, and if convicted, could bring her significant jail time. Lohan pleaded not guilty.
Law enforcement sources told The Times the case against Lohan includes store surveillance video showing the actress wearing the necklace. Paparazzi photos taken days later also show the actress wearing the necklace. The case file also includes statements from people who were inside the jewelry store at the same time as Lohan, said the sources, who spoke on the condition that they not be named because the case was ongoing.
The case is one of three pieces of legal trouble for the star, who is still on probation in an earlier drunk-driving case and is under investigation in Riverside County for allegedly shoving a worker at the Betty Ford clinic.
In court, Chapman Holley tried to put a positive spin on Lohan’s troubles, noting that the actress had been complying with the terms of her probation and regularly visiting her probation officer.
“A good probationer doesn’t pick up a new case,” prosecutor Danette Meyers shot back in court.
For all the tough talk in court, Lohan was allowed to be booked at the courthouse rather than arrested by police. She was taken into custody, but outside the view of TV cameras covering the hearing. About 90 minutes after the hearing started, Lohan provided a court-ordered DNA sample, was released on $40,000 bail and was escorted out a back entrance of the courthouse — again away from the cameras.
The most recent investigation began two weeks ago. The gold necklace with semiprecious stones disappeared Jan. 22 from a store in the 1300 block of Abbot Kinney Boulevard. After detectives began looking into the case and preparing a search warrant, a Lohan associate took the necklace to the Los Angeles Police Department’s Pacific Division station. Lohan’s representatives have not offered an explanation about why she had the necklace other than to say she didn’t steal it.
In court Wednesday, Meyers asked that Lohan and her “agents” stay away from the store, which reported being “somewhat alarmed” after receiving flowers, reportedly from someone connected with Lohan, after the incident. The judge agreed and told the actress to stay away.
Lohan has been in and out of court and rehab for the last two years. She spent three months at the rehab center in Rancho Mirage under orders from Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Elden S. Fox, who spared the actress jail time in October after Lohan tested positive for drugs while on probation in a DUI case. If she is convicted in the necklace theft, she would serve jail time for that crime and also be eligible for additional detention for violating her probation.
Riverside County prosecutors said they are still considering whether to file charges against her for allegedly shoving an employee at the Betty Ford clinic last year. The employee reported Lohan assaulted her but has since said she does not want to press charges.