LOS ANGELES, Calif.–In a roller-coaster day in court, actress Lindsay Lohan was sentenced today to 120 days in jail and 480 hours of community service for violating her probation in a 2007 misdemeanor DUI case.
Lohan, who is accused of stealing a necklace priced at $2,500 from a Venice jewelry store on Jan. 22, was taken into custody at the Airport Branch Courthouse, but she was expected to quickly post bail, which she is permitted to do since her attorney announced plans to file an appeal.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephanie Sautner set the actress’ bail at $75,000.
Sautner’s ruling that Lohan violated probation came just hours after the judge reduced a felony grand theft charge against the actress to a misdemeanor. Lowering the charge to a misdemeanor was a major victory for the actress, since the misdemeanor carries only a possible maximum of one year in jail.
But her victory was short-lived. After viewing portions of a surveillance video of Lohan at the Kamofie & Co. jewelry store, Sautner decided that the actress had violated her probation and should serve jail time.
Sautner scheduled a pretrial hearing in Lohan’s misdemeanor theft case for May 11, with trial tentatively set for June 3.
Lohan, the star of films such as “Mean Girls” and “Freaky Friday,” was charged Feb. 9 and had been free on $40,000 bail.
Lohan’s attorney, Shawn Holley, was successful getting the charge reduced to a misdemeanor, mainly by raising questions about the actual value of the necklace.
Under questioning by Deputy District Attorney Danette Meyers, Kamofie and Co. co-owner Sofia Kaman said she obtained the necklace on consignment, with her payment to the owner expected to be $850 once the necklace was sold.
The 16-inch necklace was priced in the store at $2,500, and Kaman said that was an industry-standard markup for such designer goods.
Kaman said she has since had to pay the owner for the necklace, although the amount she paid was not specified.
An employee of the jewelry store testified that the actress almost walked out of the shop four days earlier with an earring she had tried on.
Tinelli Comsooksri said the 24-year-old actress visited the Abbot Kinney Boulevard shop on Jan. 18–four days before the alleged necklace theft.
Lohan tried on a pair of earrings, and as she was leaving the store, Comsooksri stopped her to tell her she still had one of the earrings on, the witness testified.
Holley later asked Kaman why she and other employees weren’t watching Lohan more closely the day the necklace disappeared if she had allegedly almost walked out of the shop with an earring a few days earlier.
“We thought it was an accident,” Kaman said. “We weren’t thinking she was going to take it (the earring).”
A day after she was charged, Lohan issued a denial via Twitter, writing, “fyi–I would never steal, in case people are wondering. I was not raised to lie, cheat or steal.”
Kaman testified that she realized about 10 minutes after Lohan left the store on Jan. 22 the necklace was missing. She said the actress did not pay for the jewelry, there was no agreement for her to pay for it later and she was never given permission to remove it from the store.
Kaman said she opened the shop’s locked door to let Lohan and her friend out of the store the day the necklace disappeared, but she didn’t realize the actress was wearing the necklace.
The jewelry store owners have since come under fire for releasing surveillance videotape of the actress inside the shop the day she allegedly stole the necklace. Geoff and Sofia Kaman have said they plan to eventually auction off the necklace and donate the proceeds to charity.
Sofia Kaman testified today that they signed a contract for someone to distribute the video after receiving assurances from an attorney it was OK to do so. She said she has not received any money from the video’s release.
In February, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Keith L. Schwartz said Lohan would face jail time if she pleaded guilty or no contest in his courtroom. The actress did not take him up on his offer to settle the case.
Lohan’s legal troubles date back to a pair of DUI arrests in May 2007 and July 2007.
She spent 13 days in a Los Angeles County jail last summer for violating her probation in the DUI case by missing multiple classes in a court-ordered alcohol education program.
On Feb. 1, detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department’s Pacific Division obtained a warrant to search Lohan’s Venice residence for the necklace, but the jewelry–described as “one of a kind”–was turned over to police before the search warrant was served, according to police.
Last month, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office announced that Lohan will not face charges for an alleged altercation Dec. 12 with an employee at the Betty Ford Center while the actress was at the Rancho Mirage facility for a court-ordered rehabilitation program. Prosecutors cited insufficient evidence.
By Terri Vermeulen Keith | City News Service