Lionel Richie didn't skirt questions about his daughter, Nicole Richie, after his performance Saturday night at the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans.

"She's just in an unfortunate situation," he said.

Nicole Richie, 25, is slated to go on trial July 11 for her driving under the influence case. She was arrested Dec. 11 and pleaded not guilty in February to misdemeanor driving under the influence charges.

Besides the single count, the case contains an allegation that she had a prior misdemeanor DUI conviction in June 2003.

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"She keeps apologizing to me," Lionel Richie said. "I told her 'You're doing exactly what you're supposed to be doing to your father at this age.'"

Richie said the unfortunate thing for his daughter and other celebrities is that they live in a fish bowl.

"There's just so much information out there right now — MySpace, cell phones, the Internet," he said. "If we had had all that when The Commodores were around, God only knows what my mother and father would have seen."

It is to be determined whether Nicole Richie will face jail time like her celebrity friend Paris Hilton, who served about 23 days behind bars for violating probation in an alcohol-related reckless driving case. The California vehicle code says if a person is convicted of DUI twice within 10 years, a person can be sentenced to between 90 days and a year in jail and have his or her driving privileges suspended.

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