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Lindsay Lohan fate up in the air as Riverside D.A. reinvestigates Betty Ford incident

January 12, 2011 |  6:04 pm

The Riverside County district attorney’s office said it will conduct its own investigation before deciding whether to file criminal charges against Lindsay Lohan for an alleged altercation between the actress and a technician at the Betty Ford facility in Palm Desert where she was treated for substance abuse.

The renewed investigation will not include the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, which patrols Palm Desert, prosecutors said.

Sheriff's detectives had asked the district attorney’s office to charge Lohan with battery, even though the technician asked that the case be dropped. Sheriff’s investigators said they believed Lohan violated her probation because of her involvement in an altercation over whether she should take an alcohol test.

"Regardless of whether the victim is cooperating, we believe there is a case here to press charges ... and the investigation determined Ms. Lohan violated several aspects of her probation," said Sheriff's Sgt. David Florez.

Florez said sheriff's investigators will send a copy of their investigation to the Los Angeles County Probation Department, which is supervising Lohan's probation on a 2007 DUI conviction.

Law enforcement sources said they believe Lohan's failure to comply with the technician's request for a Breathalyzer test is also a potential probation violation.

Lohan's attorney questioned Tuesday why authorities in Palm Desert thought it necessary to issue any kind of statement on her client's probation.

Shawn Chapman Holley has said that she found sheriff officials' statements “highly unusual and deeply troubling” and that it was not the department’s role to decide her client’s probation status. The attorney also said her client never consumed alcohol or drugs while at the Betty Ford facility and that her release papers support that.

Lohan left the facility last week, having completed a three-month court-ordered stay.

In October, over a prosecutor's protests, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Elden S. Fox spared the actress jail time after she tested positive for drugs, ordering her to stay at the center through Jan. 3.

Fox warned Lohan that he would put her in jail for six months if she violated probation again. It was her fifth time in rehab, and she has been to jail three times in connection with the case.

A law enforcement source, who is involved in the case but not authorized to discuss it, said L.A. County probation officials are unlikely to take action against Lohan unless she is convicted in Riverside County.

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-- Richard Winton

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