LiLo Bails on 20/20 Amid Possible Criminal Charges
The ever-embattled star Lindsay Lohan, listening to the advice of a new PR team (and maybe her lawyer this time), cancelled an interview with Barbara Walters on ABC News’s “20/20” that was scheduled for this week.
Lohan canned the deal after learning that Walters would be asking her not only about her new Lifetime movie “Liz & Dick,” in which she channels Elizabeth Taylor – complete with the scandal and drama of her relationship with Richard Burton – but also about the real-life scandal and drama of yet another possible criminal case in California against her.
PR Firm Pulls Plug
TMZ says it’s likely that the Santa Monica City Attorney’s office will charge Lohan with a misdemeanor, following her alleged lie to police about whether she was driving her Porsche when it crashed into an 18-wheeler on the Pacific Coast Highway in June.
She initially claimed her assistant was driving, but he subsequently admitted to police that he was in the passenger seat and she was at the wheel.
Her interview with Walters was supposed to run on 20/20 on Nov. 16. “Liz & Dick” premiers Nov. 25.
According to several news sources, Lohan cancelled the interview at the behest of her new publicist at Rogers & Cowan, a Los Angeles-based PR firm.
Mum’s the Word
A lawyer would likely have told Lohan the same thing. “Generally speaking, publicity hurts a criminal defendant,” says Andrea Lyon, clinical professor of law at DePaul University College of Law, in a recent paper about criminal defendants and the media. “There are already so many presumptions against anyone charged.”
Most prosecutors are happy to see criminal defendants talk to the media because it presents the opportunity for the defendant to make inconsistent statements that can be used by the state to make the defendant look untrustworthy to the jury. And Lohan would already be charged with lying, so any other inconsistencies in her story would not bode well for her case.
How Many More Times?
And at this point, she needs all the help she can get. Lohan’s checkered past in the criminal justice system likely tempted her to try to duck out of responsibility for the car crash: She’s already on probation for shoplifting a $2,500 necklace from a jewelry store in Venice Beach, Calif. in early 2011.
A misdemeanor obstruction charge would likely count as a violation of her probation, which could send her to the slammer. The jewelry theft was actually a violation of her former sentence of probation for DUI.
And you’d think Lohan would have learned to keep her trap shut: Her lawyer reportedly was too late to stop her from blabbing to police at the hospital after the crash – the alleged lie that gave rise to her current legal predicament.
If you’re about to be charged with a crime, find a criminal defense lawyer on Lawyers.com before you talk to the media or police.