LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Lindsay Lohan was warned on Wednesday that any plea bargain on her jewellery theft charge would involve jail time, but the troubled actress seemed set on rejecting any deals and opting instead to risk a trial.
Lohan, 24, was given until March 10, to consider a plea deal offered by prosecutors on a charge that she walked out of a Los Angeles jewellery store in January without paying for a $2,500 (1,540 pound) necklace.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed at Wednesday’s hearing -- the latest in a series of trips to court that have halted Lohan’s once promising movie career.
But celebrity website TMZ.com, citing unnamed sources connected to the case, said prosecutors want Lohan to plead guilty and serve six months in jail to avoid a possibly longer sentence if convicted at trial of stealing the necklace.
Lohan and her lawyers had been hoping for an arrangement that would avoid any more time behind bars. The actress spent two weeks in jail last summer on a probation violation in a 2007 drunk driving and cocaine conviction.
But Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Keith L. Schwartz told her sternly that “this case does involve jail time. Period. If you plead (guilty) in front of me and the case is resolved in front of me, you are going to jail, period.”
Lohan pleaded not guilty to grand theft at an initial hearing earlier in February, and has told friends she believed the necklace was on loan.
Schwartz said on Wednesday he doubted Lohan and her lawyers would accept a plea deal. “I get the impression you are not going to accept the (prosecutors’) offer, okay. I don’t have a crystal ball, and I’m not privy to any inside information, but that is the feeling that I got.”
TMZ.com reported that Lohan told a friend after leaving the courtroom she was not guilty and would not accept going back to jail. She has until March 10 to consider her response.
“I don’t care that you are Lindsay Lohan versus John Doe,” Schwartz lectured the “Mean Girls” actress. “You will be treated exactly the same as anyone else, no better or worse.”
Lohan, dressed in cream pants and a low-cut black blouse, said little during Wednesday’s hearing, conferring quietly with her attorney and answering the judge, “yes, your honour,” when asked if she understood what he said to her.
Lohan faces a separate court hearing before a different judge in her 2007 drunk driving conviction. She remains on probation in that case and in January completed a court-ordered three month stay in rehab -- her fifth stint in treatment in three years.
Schwartz said he would recommend psychological counselling for Lohan as part of her sentence, telling her “I don’t want you to be a repeat offender....I want you to get on with your life and move on.”
Lohan made her name as an 11-year-old in the Disney movie “The Parent Trap” and went on to have hits with “Freaky Friday” and “Herbie Fully Loaded”.
But she lost her lead part in a movie about 1970s porn actress Linda Lovelace while she was in rehab last year.
Editing by Christine Kearney and Bob Tourtellotte
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