By The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Lindsay Lohan rejected a plea agreement Thursday offered by prosecutors that included a guaranteed return to jail in a case involving the theft of a $2,500 necklace.
The “Mean Girls” actress appeared in a courtroom and told a judge she agreed to delaying her case until an April 22 preliminary hearing, when prosecutors will present evidence against her.
It was all Lohan said during the brief proceeding in Los Angeles.
Her decision came after Superior Court Judge Keith Schwartz offered the actress another opportunity to resolve the case.
He said Thursday he had laid out to Lohan’s lawyer how he would sentence Lohan if she pleaded guilty or no contest to the theft of the necklace, and said she could accept his offer at a hearing on March 25.
The exact terms of the proposed plea deal by prosecutors and the judge’s offer were not disclosed.
Schwartz previously told Lohan he would sentence her to jail if she accepted the government’s plea deal but did not indicated how much time he would impose.
If eventually convicted, the actress could be sentenced to up to three years in state prison.
Lohan, 24, who has pleaded not guilty, arrived in court a few minutes late wearing a dark grayish brown dress and hurriedly walked into the hearing with her mother.
Lohan was on probation in January when a Venice jewelry store accused her of taking the necklace that a security video showed she was wearing when she left the shop.
The preliminary hearing would have a dual purpose, with another judge determining if there is enough evidence for Lohan to stand trial on the grand theft charge and whether she violated the terms of her probation in a 2007 drunken driving case.
If the judge decides she was in violation of probation, Lohan could be immediately sent to jail.
Lohan’s return to court came days after surveillance footage was aired of her trying on necklaces at Kamofie & Co., which reported the necklace stolen on Jan. 22. The necklace was eventually given by a Lohan associate to police, who had already obtained a search warrant for the Venice home of the actress.
“Entertainment Tonight” aired the footage, which showed Lohan texting, pacing and talking to a store clerk for nearly 45 minutes. The actress wore the necklace for roughly 25 minutes, according to the show, and it was around her neck when the clerk escorted Lohan out, smiled and held a door open.
The footage was obtained by a commercial images division of The Associated Press and licensed exclusively to “Entertainment Tonight.”
A once-promising star of Disney films such as “Freaky Friday” and “Herbie Fully Loaded,” her career has been stalled since she was arrested twice in 2007 and later charged with drunken driving and drug possession.
In the past 10 months, Lohan has been jailed twice and sent to rehab twice for probation violations. A judge ordered her to undergo three months of treatment at the Betty Ford Center, and it was within three weeks of her release that she was accused of stealing the necklace.
While the theft case has caused more uncertainty for Lohan, it might benefit others.
The owners of Kamofie & Co. announced Wednesday that they will auction the necklace and donate the proceeds to an unspecified charity after the theft case is resolved. The item remains in the custody of authorities.