Judge tells Lindsay Lohan guilty plea means jail

Wed Feb 23, 2011 3:16pm EST
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Lindsay Lohan was warned on Wednesday that any plea bargain on her jewelry 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 jewelry store in January without paying for a $2,500 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."   Continued...

<p>Actress Lindsay Lohan and her attorney Shawn Chapman Holley attend a preliminary hearing at the Airport Branch Courthouse in Los Angeles, February 23, 2011. REUTERS/Paul Buck/Pool</p>