Prosecutors are trying to convince a Los Angeles that Lindsay Lohan should be tried on charges she stole a necklace from an upscale jewelry store, laying out evidence in a hearing expected to last all day.
The "Mean Girls" star arrived at the courthouse wearing a black long-sleeve shirt, blue trousers and a scarf. The preliminary hearing Friday is expected to feature testimony about Lohan's actions and the necklace, which the jewelry store reported the actress took without permission in January. Prosecutors and the store, Kamofie & Co., have said the necklace is worth $2,500, although Lohan's attorney has indicated she plans to challenge its value.
The first witness was a worker at the jewelry store.
The actress has rejected two plea deals that carried guaranteed jails sentences. This week, the makers of a pair of films announced they have cast Lohan in two movies, one of which will begin production later this year.
Preliminary hearings generally end with a judge determining there is enough evidence for the case to continue, although the levels of proof are lower than during a trial.
The stakes are slightly higher for Lohan, who was on probation for a 2007 drunken driving case when Kamofie reported the necklace stolen. The judge who initially handled the necklace theft case has said he thinks Lohan violated the terms of her release, but has assigned the preliminary hearing to another jurist. The new judge, Stephanie Sautner, could send Lohan to jail after Friday's hearing if she determines there is enough evidence to support the probation violation.
Lohan, 24, has been jailed three times before, but has been released early due to jail overcrowding.
She has pleaded not guilty in the grand theft case and her attorney, Shawn Chapman Holley, has said the actress is innocent.
Lohan has been a courthouse fixture since last May when she missed a hearing in her drunken driving case. Since then, two judges have sent her jail twice and rehab, also twice.
Kamofie & Co. reported its necklace stolen roughly three weeks after Lohan was released from treatment at the Betty Ford Center, where she also encountered trouble. A rehab worker accused Lohan of battery during an argument in which the worker told authorities Lohan had missed curfew and was caught with two other girls who admitted they had been drinking.
Prosecutors declined to file charges in that incident.
On Wednesday, Fiore Films announced it had cast the actress to play the wife of John Gotti Jr., the son of the infamous mob boss dubbed the "Teflon Don," in a biopic of the family. The project, title, "Gotti: Three Generations," is scheduled to begin shooting later this year in Lohan's native New York.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Lohan said she was eager to put her court cases behind her and once again be known as an actress.
"I'm really excited to be back on set and clear up all the misinterpretations about me and show this is what I love to do," Lohan said.
"I think in the past, I had a lot of distractions," she said. "I've learned a lot. I've lived a lot. When I'm on set, it's about the film."