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Lindsay Lohan: Prosecutor aware of witness tampering complaint

March 19, 2013 |  1:22 pm

PHOTOS: The trials and tribulations of Lindsay Lohan

Santa Monica's top prosecutor says he is aware of an allegation of witness tampering against Lindsay Lohan's lawyer Mark Heller involving a key witness in the criminal case that settled this week.

But any investigation, he said, will be conducted by another law enforcement agency.

Terry White, Santa Monica's deputy city attorney, said Tuesday that he had heard a complaint against Heller in connection with a witness in the case against Lohan. The actress was convicted Monday of reckless driving and lying to police on Monday.

PHOTOS: The trials and tribulations of Lindsay Lohan

But White said the complaint would be appropriately investigated by the district attorney or a police agency. White said, in general terms, witness tampering is a potential felony.

Lohan pleaded no contest Monday to misdemeanor reckless driving and providing false information to police in connection with a June 2012 car crash. A charge of willfully resisting, obstructing or delaying an officer was dismissed. Santa Monica police and prosecutors alleged Lohan lied when she said she was not driving a Porsche that smashed into the rear of a truck on Pacific Coast Highway.

Key to the Santa Monica case was the testimony of Lohan's friend and assistant Gavin Doyle, who was in the Porsche that struck the back of the truck. Police said he told them that had been driving, contrary to what the actress said. 

Michael Lohan, the actress' father, clashed verbally outside court Monday with Heller and another attorney after sentencing. He alleged Heller had tampered with Doyle, considered a witness.

Heller quickly denied the allegation, calling it crazy.

Michael Lohan's lawyers on Tuesday said they had learned of an allegation that Heller may have tried to get Doyle to change his statement and reported that to Santa Monica and L.A. City prosecutors because of the potential influence on the case if the trial had proceeded.

In addition to 90 days in a locked-down rehabilitation facility, Lohan must also spend 18 months in psychotherapy, serve 30 days of community service and pay restitution to the driver of the truck prosecutors said she hit on Pacific Coast Highway.

In pleading no contest to the charges, Lohan admitted she had violated her probation in a 2011 shoplifting case, and Judge James Dabney sentenced her to 180 days in jail. But that sentence was stayed, the judge saying if Lohan met the terms of this deal, she wouldn't serve additional time behind bars.

Lohan arrived nearly 50 minutes late to court, was showered with glitter on her way inside and agreed  to an 11th-hour plea deal in which she avoided jail time, and the 26-year-old's father had a heated exchange with her attorney Monday outside a Los Angeles courthouse.

The actress' attorney, Mark Heller, was telling reporters he was "thrilled" with the result when Michael Lohan approached.

PHOTOS: The trials and tribulations of Lindsay Lohan

"I don't know what he is still doing here," Michael Lohan yelled, repeatedly complaining that Heller nearly got his daughter jailed.

"He is her lawyer," said attorney Anthony Falangetti, who aided Heller in striking the deal.

Michael Lohan then stepped toward Falangetti.

"I am her father," he said before using an expletive, prompting a courthouse deputy to step into the  scrum and direct Michael Lohan back. Lohan also told Heller to "go home" and had to be physically held back.

The elder Lohan later told reporters the attorney had repeatedly avoided a plea deal. Heller agreed Monday, Lohan said, only because a team of lawyers Michael Lohan had retained had advised him to do so.

But Falangetti, who represents several politicians in criminal investigations and is a courthouse veteran, said he advised Heller on California law and talked to prosecutors along with Heller.

Until last month, Lohan was represented by Shawn Holley, among the region's top lawyers. Heller had previously been reprimanded by Dabney, who questioned the attorney's ability to adequately defend the actress in California, given that he did not seem familiar with the state's criminal-law system.

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— Richard Winton

Photo: Lindsay Lohan in court flanked by Mark Heller, right, and Anthony Falangetti. Credit: Associated Press.

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