LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - In her first public comments since a prison sentence, celebrity heiress and reality TV star Paris Hilton has described her 45-day jail term for a driving related offense as cruel and unwarranted.
Visibly shocked and tearful, Hilton was sentenced on Friday to 45 days in jail after a judge ruled she knowingly violated her probation on a previous traffic offense by driving without a valid license.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Sauer rejected the 26-year-old socialite’s defense that she didn’t realize her license was suspended and ordered her to report to a county detention facility on June 5.
“I told the truth,” Hilton told photographers waiting outside her Los Angeles home on Saturday night.
“I feel that I was treated unfairly and that the sentence is both cruel and unwarranted. I don’t deserve this.”
Her lawyer, Howard Weitzman, has said he will appeal “to modify the sentence.”
Hilton’s mother Kathy voiced her anger at the ruling over the weekend. “This is pathetic and disgusting, a waste of taxpayers’ money with this nonsense. It is a joke,” she told Hollywood.com.
Hilton’s fans began sending messages of support as news of the jail term spread. One fan, Joshua Capone, wrote to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger asking him to intervene and keep Hilton out of jail.
“She provides hope for young people all over the U.S. and the world. She provides beauty and excitement to (most of) our otherwise mundane lives,” Capone wrote in a letter to Schwarzenegger posted online on Hilton’s myspace page.
Hilton quickly responded on her myspace page.
“I just want to thank Joshua so much for his kind words of love and support. God Bless. Love Paris.”
At the hearing, the star of the reality TV show “The Simple Life” said she was unaware her driving privileges had been completely suspended when police stopped her for driving without headlights on February 27. They impounded her blue Bentley after discovering she was driving on a suspended license.
Hilton said her publicist had told her she was permitted to drive for work-related reasons after the first 30 days of her license suspension late last November, and she relied on that.
Hilton was sentenced in January to three years probation after pleading no contest — the equivalent of a guilty plea — to alcohol-related reckless driving last September.