Sale of video in Lindsay Lohan jewelry-theft case could hurt prosecution
The prosecution of actress Lindsay Lohan, accused of stealing a necklace from a Venice jewelry store, took another bizarre twist when surveillance video of the actress in the store was sold and "Entertainment Tonight" posted images on its website.
The development is a potential headache for prosecutors because the video is crucial evidence against the actress. Sources close to the case said the development could bolster claims by Lohan's defense attorneys that the store wanted to make money by accusing Lohan of stealing the necklace.
"There has been a tremendous amount of media speculation about an incident which took place on January 22, 2011 at a Venice, California jewelry store named Kamofie and Company," said a message placed on the website that plans to stream the video. "Many individuals want to be able to see the video streams from the jewelry store’s surveillance cameras, and we have obtained the exclusive license for them. The tapes speak for themselves."
Still images of the video on the "Entertainment Tonight" website show Lohan in the store but do not show her stealing the necklace.
Lohan has been charged with stealing a $2,500 necklace from the store. The felony grand theft case is by far the most serious in a string of charges she's faced. A conviction could bring her significant jail time. She has pleaded not guilty.
Law enforcement sources told The Times that the case against Lohan includes the store surveillance video showing the actress wearing the necklace. Paparazzi photos taken days later also show the actress wearing the necklace. The case file also includes statements from people who were inside the store at the same time as Lohan, said the sources, who spoke on the condition that they not be named because the case is ongoing.
Lohan has been in and out of court and rehab over the last two years. She spent three months at a rehab center in Rancho Mirage under orders from Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Elden S. Fox, who spared the actress jail time in October after Lohan had tested positive for drugs while on probation in a DUI case. If she is convicted in the necklace theft, she could serve jail time for that crime and also be eligible for additional detention for violating her probation.
Riverside County prosecutors said they are still considering whether to file charges against Lohan for allegedly shoving an employee at the Betty Ford Center last year. The rehab center employee reported that Lohan had assaulted her but has since said she does not want to press charges.
-- Richard Winton
Photo: Stephen Dunn / Getty Images