More Court Drama Awaits Lindsay Lohan
LOS ANGELES (CNN) — The soap opera that is Lindsay Lohan offers more drama after the actress missed a Sunday night flight to Los Angeles, where she goes on trial Monday morning.
With no more red-eye flights heading west, Lohan boarded a private jet provided by a Los Angeles-based beverage company for which she has made promotional appearances.
“Thanks Mr. Pink for the private jet see you all in a few hours in LA,” Lohan tweeted early Monday. Mr. Pink makes “premium ginseng-infused wellness beverages,” according to its website.
Unfortunately for Lohan, the plane landed at the Van Nuys, California, airport at 8:10 a.m. (11:10 a.m. ET), 23 miles from the courthouse where her trial is set to begin at 8:30 a.m. The drive during Los Angeles’ infamous morning rush hour down the 405 Freeway could take more than an hour. How the judge will react to Lohan’s tardiness is in question.
Travel logistics may not be Lohan’s biggest worry, though.
Which lawyer will represent her in her lying-to-cops trial this week is uncertain after a judge said he was “somewhat concerned” that her New York lawyer didn’t have a good grasp of California criminal law.
“Somebody needs to come in to assist you who has some experience in California law for procedure, or Miss Lohan is going to have to come in here and waive her right to have attorneys who are competent in California law and procedure to go forward,” Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Dabney told attorney Mark Heller at a March 1 hearing.
Lohan faces charges of lying to a police officer about a car crash, reckless driving and violating her probation for a shoplifting conviction.
She faces the possibility of going to jail if she is found guilty of any of the charges.
If so, she may have to serve 245 days, the remainder of her suspended sentence from a shoplifting conviction.
Lohan in court?
She does not have to attend her own trial, since the charges are misdemeanors, her previous judge said in January.
But Dabney made it clear at the last hearing that Lohan had to be at court Monday unless Heller has an experienced California criminal lawyer by his side.
While Lohan sat in a John F. Kennedy International Airport concourse late Sunday searching for a new flight to Los Angeles, she may have also considered accepting help from her father — someone she has publicly feuded with.
Michael Lohan, who has been critical of Heller’s legal skills, hired David Wohl, who practices criminal law in Orange County, in hopes that his daughter would allow him to defend her.
Adding Wohl to the defense team could get Lohan off the hook for having to get to court Monday morning.
Wohl used a Twitter message Friday in an effort to persuade Lohan to accept him: “@lindsaylohan My law firm was hired by your Dad. He wants nothing but the best for you. We will be there Monday to help, if we’re allowed.”
Beating the rap
Even with that hurdle jumped, beating the rap still stands before Lohan.
The lying charge stems from what Lohan told a police officer at a hospital emergency room after her Porsche crashed in to a dump truck on the Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica.
The police report said Lohan denied being behind the wheel, but the prosecutor is expected to call witnesses who say she was driving.
Heller has questioned the legality of police questioning Lohan while she was being checked by doctor at a hospital. He said he would try to get her statement excluded from the trial.
But if Lohan is found not guilty of lying, the judge could still decide that she violated her probation by being arrested.
Another possibility is the charges could be settled with a plea deal, but Heller made it clear that another stint in drug rehab is not on the table.
“She does not need rehab,” Heller told reporters after the last hearing. “I am hoping we will be able to come to some creative out-of-the-box answer.”
Lohan is already undergoing “one-on-one psychotherapy,” he said.
“Lindsay doesn’t have a problem with alcohol and drugs,” Heller said. “Lindsay has other types of issues that are being dealt with.”
Lohan acknowledged her drug and alcohol addiction in past court appearances.
She’s spent 250 days in five rehab facilities since January 2007, including one long court-ordered stint after a failed drug test.
Whatever happens in court Monday — with or without Lohan — it will be another installment in a six-year soap opera that shows no signs of being canceled.
It is a drama in which the lead actress has appeared in court at least 20 times before four Los Angeles judges who found her in violation of probation five times and sentenced her to a total of six months in jail.
Lohan spent about two weeks behind bars in six trips to the Los Angeles County jail, served 35 days under house arrest and worked about 67 days of community service at the L.A. County morgue.