Lindsay Lohan opts to stand trial on theft charge

Wed Mar 23, 2011 6:35pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actress Lindsay Lohan has opted for a full-scale trial on a jewelry theft charge rather than accepting a deal from prosecutors to plead guilty, which would have put her behind bars for several months.

Lohan's lawyer told Los Angeles prosecutors on Wednesday that there would be no court hearing on Friday in the case, prosecutors said, meaning the actress's not guilty plea will stand and that she had turned down the plea bargain offer.

Lohan, 24, who has been in and out of rehab and jail for the past three years for drug and alcohol addiction, has said she is not guilty of walking out a Los Angeles store in January without paying for a $2,500 gold necklace.

The "Mean Girls" actress was offered a deal by prosecutors that would have seen her plead guilty on Friday, avoid a trial, but be sentenced to between three and six months in jail.

But she will now go ahead with a preliminary hearing on April 22 that will determine if there is evidence for a full trial. If convicted she is likely to be sent to jail for a longer term.

Lohan, who is still on probation for a 2007 drunk driving and cocaine conviction, has insisted she is innocent and friends have said she believed the necklace was on loan.

The actress, whose Hollywood career has stalled, left a three-month court-ordered stint in rehab in early January. She spent two weeks in jail in 2010 for violating her probation on the 2007 charge.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

<p>Actress Lindsay Lohan (L), with her attorney Shawn Chapman Holley, appears in Airport Courthouse in Los Angeles March 10, 2011. REUTERS/David McNew/Pool</p>