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OTRC: Lindsay Lohan appears in court, lawyer explains illness, trial date set

Lindsay Lohan appeared at a Los Angeles court on Wednesday, January 30, for a pretrial hearing about misdemeanor charges of allegedly lying to police about a summer car crash, which had led to her probation to be revoked and could land her back in jail if she is convicted.

The judge, Stephanie Sautner, formally approved the 26-year-old troubled actress' request to have her New York-based lawyer, Mark Heller, represent her in place of Shawn Holley, her Los Angeles-based attorney, who had recently parted ways with her. The actress wore a black dress with a scoop neck in court. Sautner scheduled another hearing on March 1 and a trial date on March 18.

The judge has sentenced Lohan to jail in the past and in March 2012, ruled that Lohan had fulfilled all her probation requirements stemming from a 2007 DUI and cocaine possession case, which had stalled her acting career. Sautner had put Lohan on informal probation until May 2014 for taking a necklace without permission from a jewelry store.

"She's on probation we all know that," Sautner told Heller in court on Wednesday. "The condition is that she obey all laws. If a court should find she didn't obey all laws ... then should be found in violation. On the open case, it's alleged she lied to a police offer after a car accident and reckless driving. This is not the most complex case we've ever seen but there may be witnesses you have to interview."

Lohan's probation was revoked on December 12, less than two weeks after the Santa Monica City Attorney's Office in Santa Monica, California charged her with three misdemeanors -- willfully resisting, obstructing or delaying an officer in the course of their duties, giving false information to a peace officer and reckless driving.

Lohan pleaded not guilty to the charges on January 15.

Over the past five years, Lohan has served several stints behind bars, which have lasted a total of less than two weeks, and has also been in and out of rehab to treat substance abuse.

Heller had recently filed a doctor's note saying Lohan is too ill to travel from New York, where she has been vacationing, to California and would not be able to attend her pretrial hearing.

"Glad to see you're feeling better," Sautner told Lohan in court.

"Thank you," Lohan replied.

Heller explained that the actress' doctor had diagnosed her with an upper respiratory infection and told her not to travel unless she felt better.

"She did indicate she felt better," he told the judge. "She wanted to show respect to the court."

Heller also told Sautner it was a "great honor" to appear before her, at a California state court.

"I believe I heard that you are former New York City detective?" Heller asked the judge.

"That was in another life," she replied. "Flattery doesn't get you anywhere in this court."

Sautner also said she would not preside over the actual trial of her car crash case, noting that she plans to retire before March 1.

NEW YORK ASSAULT CASE

Lohan is also dealing with a separate legal problem -- in November, on the day charges were filed against her in the accident case, the actress was arrested in New York on suspicion of misdemeanor assault following a confrontation with a woman, a psychic, at a nightclub.

Earlier this month, Lohan did not appear at a New York court hearing for the case -- her attorney attended on her behalf, a move allowed for misdemeanors.

Heller, who is based in New York, told reporters that Lohan did not commit any crime and "never made any physical contact with the alleged victim," according to ABC News.

Heller appeared at a court about the matter on the actress' behalf and signed paperwork for her. He said Lohan will only attend a hearing in person when there is an accusatory document, which has not yet been filed. The Associated Press quoted a court spokesman as saying that a criminal complaint has not been drawn up and that the district attorney's office has said that the investigation is continuing.

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