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Prosecutors asked to consider charging Lindsay Lohan with battery

Riverside County sheriff's detectives believe 'there is a case here to press charges' against Lindsay Lohan even though a Betty Ford Center technician has asked that the case be dropped.

January 05, 2011|By Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times

Riverside County sheriff's detectives say they believe Lindsay Lohan violated her probation during an alleged altercation with a technician at a Betty Ford Center housing complex in Palm Desert last month over whether the actress should take an alcohol test.

Detectives have asked Riverside County prosecutors to consider charging Lohan with battery even though the technician has asked that the case be dropped.

"Regardless of whether the victim is cooperating, we believe there is a case here to press charges … and the investigation determined Ms. Lohan violated several aspects of her probation," said Sgt. David Florez of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, which patrols Palm Desert. "Obviously, the battery is one violation. We aren't going to discuss the other violations at this point."

Florez said sheriff's investigators probably will send a copy of their investigation later this week to the Los Angeles County Probation Department, which is supervising Lohan's probation on a 2007 conviction for driving under the influence.

Law enforcement sources said they believe Lohan's failure to comply with the technician's request for an Breathalyzer test is also a potential probation violation.

Lohan's attorney Tuesday questioned why authorities in Palm Desert thought it necessary to issue any kind of statement on her client's probation.

"The important, yet limited, investigatory role of the police to gather facts and collect evidence is well-established," attorney Shawn Chapman Holley said in a statement. But going "outside this limited role to issue a press statement … about what should happen in Ms. Lohan's case is highly unusual and deeply troubling."

The announcement by Riverside County authorities came shortly after Lohan left the Betty Ford facility late Monday, having completed a three-month, court-ordered stay.

In October, over a prosecutor's protests, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Elden S. Fox spared the actress jail time after she tested positive for drugs, ordering her to stay at the center through Jan. 3.

Fox warned Lohan that he would put her in jail for six months if she violated probation again. It was her fifth time in rehab and she has been to jail three times in connection with the case.

But a law enforcement source, who is involved in the case and requested anonymity, said Los Angeles County probation officials are unlikely to take action against Lohan unless she is convicted in Riverside County.

richard.winton@latimes.com

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