Despite her lawyer saying she was too ill to travel to Los Angeles, Lindsay Lohan appeared in court Wednesday, defying expectations after flying from New York Tuesday night to attend the pretrial hearing in her probation-violation and misdemeanor cases.
Superior Court Judge Stephanie Sautner ruled that probation remained revoked for Lohan, 26, and approved the actress' request to substitute New York attorney Mark Heller for her longtime defense counsel Shawn Holley. To accommodate the change, Sautner moved the trial date in from Feb. 27 to March 18.
That trial, Sautner said, would address both the alleged probation violation as well as three misdemeanor charges, including lying to police, stemming from a June 8 car accident in which Lohan's Porsche collided with an 18-wheel truck.
Sautner warned Heller that even if Lohan were acquitted in the misdemeanor case, she still might be found guilty of probation violation, for which the standard is preponderance of the evidence and not reasonable doubt. If so, the actress then faces 245 days in jail.
The judge agreed to Heller's request that Lohan not be required to appear at the next pretrial hearing, set for March 1. Sautner said the actress only had to be present Wednesday "for substitution-of-counsel purposes... She must be here for the trial [but] for pretrial she need not be present."
Sautner appeared to lose patience with Heller numerous times. She admonished his associate, fellow New York attorney Peter Toumbekis, who was sitting in the gallery, when he began shaking his head in response to some comments. Later, when Heller commented on Sautner's once being an NYPD detective and what an honor it was to appear before her, she flatly told him, "Flattery doesn't get you anywhere in this court."
Pointedly, the judge told Lohan, "I'm glad to see you're feeling better." Heller had told the court, "I know that there was some drama concerning her attendance today" and assured, "I conferred personally with her doctor," who he said told him Lohan had an upper respiratory infection.
"You mean a cold," Sautner replied. When Heller answered that, "In New York, it's the flu," Sautner replied, "The flu is the flu" and a much different illness.
"She did indicate she felt better," Heller responded. She made the trip, he said, because, "She wanted to show respect to the court and she did feel better."