Plea deal moots lawyer's tweet asking Lindsay Lohan to let him represent her at trial

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Updated: There was new courtroom drama Monday for actress Lindsay Lohan, who was late to a scheduled 8:30 a.m. trial in Los Angeles on charges that she lied to a police officer about a car crash, drove recklessly and violated her probation concerning intertwined shoplifting and drunken-driving convictions

Meanwhile—although a plea bargain soon made the issue of who would defend her there moot—observers wondered Monday morning who would represent her in the high-profile trial: A Los Angeles Superior Court judge told Lohan’s New York lawyer earlier this month that he wasn’t up to the job without hands-on help from local counsel. And, as recently as Friday, the California attorney retained by Lohan’s father was messaging her on Twitter urging the actress to agree to the representation, CNN reported.

By midday, with Heller at her side, a plea bargain had been worked out, as the Associated Press, the Crime Blotter page of the Press-Enterprise and other news outets detailed.

Lohan will plead no contest to reckless driving, lying to police and obstructing the investigation of a car crash last year, after initially claiming not to have been at the wheel. She will be sentenced to 90 days of inpatient rehab, followed by 30 days of community labor and a year and a half of psychological therapy. However, she will not have to serve any jail time, assuming she complies with the terms of the sentence.

Lohan was not required to appear personally at the misdemeanor trial, according to a Los Angeles Superior Court judge’s ruling in January. However, a different judge told her lawyer, New York attorney Mark Heller, earlier this month that Lohan would have to appear personally to waive her right to “competent” legal counsel unless a California attorney is retained to help with the case.

“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,” Judge James Dabney told Heller at a March 1 hearing, as CNN recounted.

Lohan’s father hired an experienced California lawyer, David Wohl, on her behalf. But, in the end, she didn’t consent to the representation, so he and Paul Wallin of Wallin & Klarich attended the Los Angeles trial as lawyers for Lohan’s father, Wallin told the ABA Journal in a phone interview Monday afternoon.

On Friday, Wohl sent sent Lohan a tweet urging her to sign on to his representation, CNN reported. It read: “@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.”

Lohan missed a red-eye commercial flight Sunday that was supposed to get her to Los Angeles in time for the trial, according to the news agency. Although she made the trip on a private plane provided by Mr. Pink, a beverage maker for which she has done promotional work, it landed in California at 8:10 a.m., more than 20 miles from the courthouse at which the trial was scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m.

TMZ, which live-blogged the court hearing, reported that Lohan’s plane actually landed at 8:35 a.m. at the Los Angeles airport “a stone’s throw” from the courthouse.

Whichever airport was involved, rush-hour traffic presumably contributed to Lohan’s arrival at the courthouse nearly an hour late.

Additional coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Handcuffed in A.M. re NYC Club Fight, Lindsay Lohan Is Charged in Calif. in P.M. re Accident Account”

ABAJournal.com: “After judge says Lindsay Lohan needs competent counsel, another attorney may join her defense”

Hollywood Reporter: “L.A. Attorney David Wohl Requested to Assist in Lindsay Lohan Trial”

L.A. Now (Los Angeles Times): “Lindsay Lohan finds herself back on trial, this time for lying”

Updated at 4:13 p.m. to include coverage about plea deal.

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