Lindsay Lohan has done an about-face and elected to pass on a long drawn-out trial on a charge of allegedly making off with a five-finger discount at a trendy retail outlet situated in picturesque Venice Beach (CA).
Earlier today, legal counsel appeared on her behalf at a Los Angeles courthouse to enter a surprise plea of “no contest”.
A sruprise because up-until-now, Ms. Lohan's handlers were adamant that she was inncoent, and that the "Mean Girls" star intended to have her day (well, another one, at least) in court.
The term is a fancy one – which usually masks the guilt surrounding an alleged crime – to allow a reluctant defendant to bow out gracefully.
When you factor in - Judicial Economy - it may have been a wise move on the part of her legal counsel in the final analysis.
The defendant is still considered convicted for all intents and purposes, but the plea may be challenged during an appeals process, if the defendant so desires.
A cynical few take the view that a defendant has not necessarily asserted his or her innocence - or admitted guilt - when they elect to plead "no contest".
In sum, the court is being given the nod to proceed with the disposition of the case.
On occasion, accused individuals plead no contest - because legal counsel has advised that in view of the facts and evidence on record - that the charges against the individual may be difficult to beat in an actual court-of-law.
In Lindsay Lohan’s case there is allegedly video footage of the troubled actress waltzing out of the retail store without paying for the merchandise.
Extenuating circumstances may have allowed for some wiggle room, especially with a competent attorney at the helm.
For example – Ms. Lohan’s team were within their rights to argue that the jewellery was on loan (or in the alternative argued that Ms. Lindsay simply tried on the piece of bling and forgot to return it to the clerk).
The fact her handlers returned the item once the incident was reported to the police - appeared to seal her fate in the eyes of the law, fans, and the public-at-large though - who were not easily hoodwinked.
Ms. Lindsay would have been better off arguing that she was a kleptomaniac – who needed therapy and counseling – and not hard time in the local slammer.
In response to the no contest plea, Ms. Lohan was sentenced to four months in jail.
In addition, the astute bench warmer ordered that the talented – but drug-addled actress – perform 480 hours of community service as well.
Lohan, was not required to appear in court today, but must report to jail on or before June 17th to fulfill her obligation to society.
However, at press time, insiders noted that Ms. Lohan may be eligible for house arrest which would require an electronic monitoring device on her person 24/7 to ensure the terms of the agreement are met.
Lohan was also ordered to complete much-needed therapy and is required to enroll in an anti-shoplifting program as well.
With this sorry chapter of her life closing in the near future, hopefully Ms. Lohan can get back to business as usual.
For instance, last month, Lohan landed her first feature film part since the whole fiasco began many moons ago, and is expected to go forward and co-star with John Travolta and Al Pacino.
The project is a film bio on John Gotti and the mob.
News at 11!