LOS ANGELES — After passing several hours in a Los Angeles courtroom chatting with a sheriff’s deputy while lawyers hammered out a deal on her behalf in the judge’s chambers, Lindsay Lohan pled no contest to charges of reckless driving; providing false information; and willfully resisting, obstructing, or delaying an officer in the course of their duties.
Lohan, 26, must serve 90 days at “a locked rehab facility,” complete 30 days of community labor as well as 18 months of psychotherapy, and pay a fine of $240 per charge plus an as-yet-undetermined amount in restitution amount to the victim: the driver of a truck Santa Monica police say she rear-ended on the Pacific Coast Highway in June 2012. She will also be placed on probation.
Lohan remained poised as the plea deal and sentence were announced. The only time she spoke was to acknowledge the judge as he advised her of her rights. “Yes,” she said, with a small nod.
The real fireworks came outside the courthouse after the gavel went down when Lindsay’s New York–based attorney, Mark Heller, a diminutive man clutching a Louis Vuitton briefcase with a rabbit foot dangling from its handle, took to the podium to express how pleased he was with the trial’s outcome.
“I think the prosecutors treated her fairly…” Heller started to say before Lohan’s father, Michael Lohan, began heckling him.
“Heller, go back to New York! Stay away from my family!” Michael Lohan shouted. “You’re going down for tampering with a witness!”
Michael Lohan, who has had a contentious relationship with his daughter, has denounced Heller in the past.
Michael Lohan’s lawyer, David E. Wohl, later explained, “He’s happy for Lindsay, but he’s very disturbed that she got dragged along as long as she did, because this deal could have been done immediately and she could have been in a rehab facility already.”
“She’s been led along by a lawyer who is clearly not competent to practice law in California,” Wohl continued. He then added, “We are also very concerned that what he has done along the way is possibly criminal. As we said, that is being investigated by the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office.”
Asked to clarify, Wohl said, “Possible witness tampering — we can’t say anything more about it.
“I’m just happy for her right now,” Michael Lohan added, shortly before he charged at Heller as he was wrapping up his post-trial remarks.
The excitement capped a long and mostly uneventful day filled with hours of waiting for the younger Lohan and her entourage, employees of the court and paparazzi lined up hoping to get a money shot of the actress.
Lohan was scheduled to arrive at the Airport Branch of the Los Angeles County Court at 8:30 a.m. But as the hour passed and she had not appeared, the photographers smoked cigarettes and checked their phones for updates. “They diverted to LAX,” one photographer reported. “How do you know they diverted it?” another asked. The other replied, “I saw it on TMZ.” (Lohan was rumored to be flying via a private plane to Van Nuys, scheduled to land a little after 8 a.m.)
A false Lindsay alarm was struck by the appearance of two large SUVs. The first, a dark blue Hummer with the license plate “IMTRYING,” pulled up a couple of minutes before 8:30, and her attorney jumped out, with no Lindsay aboard. Less than five minutes later, he emerged from the courthouse and sped away in the same Hummer. A black Escalade carrying a member of Lohan’s entourage also disappointed the impatient photogs.
Lohan finally arrived at a 9:17 a.m. and was was escorted into the courtroom by a phalanx of sheriff’s deputies. They, unfortunately, were ineffectual at protecting her from a glitter-bombing.
Lohan was unfazed by the glitter — and even appeared to break a smile. The photographers still scrambling for a shot only stopped to wonder who threw the glitter after Lohan had proceeded through security and into the courthouse elevator.
Once inside the courtroom, she and her entourage could do nothing but wait. And wait. And wait. It was more than two and half hours before the judge and lawyers for both prosecution and defense emerged from chambers to announce the terms of Lohan’s agreement.
Her former assistant, Gavin Doyle, was seated in the front row of the courtroom with one empty seat between him and Michael Lohan. Michael spoke urgently to Doyle, who appeared unengaged in the conversation.
Doyle, who initially told police he was driving Lindsay’s Porsche on the day in June 2012 when it slammed into the back of truck on Pacific Coast Highway, was pulled from his seat on at least three occasions, presumably to confer with the attorneys and judge. Lohan herself was pulled from the courtroom on two brief occasions. For the rest of the time, she chatted with a sandy-haired sheriff’s deputy while court observers talked quietly amongst themselves.
“If she was smart she’d just go to jail,” one reporter said to another, only feet away from Lohan. “She’d be out in a matter of minutes.” In the row behind them, one lawyer remarked to another that he was unimpressed by Lindsay’s performance in Liz and Dick and couldn’t imagine why anyone would hire her again.
Emerging from chambers shortly before noon, Judge James Dabney explained Lohan sentence point-by-point.
“This is it. You violate your probation and we’re not going to be having discussions about putting you back on probation,” Dabney said, suggesting that Lindsay would be sent directly to jail if she did not comply. “Please take these conditions seriously. Your attorneys worked hard to get you this offer under these terms. Please comply.”