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Lindsay Filmed with 'stolen' necklace

Lindsay Lohan is shown in surveillance video texting and trying on multiple pieces of jewellery in front of a clerk in a Southern California store that has accused her of stealing a $2,500 (€1,785) necklace.

Snippets of the footage taken by four cameras in the Venice store of Kamofie & Co were aired by Entertainment Tonight along with analysis by lawyers not handling the case.

The show obtained nearly 45 minutes of footage from the store's four security cameras, which captured the actress smiling as she entered the Venice shop on January 22.

Entertainment Tonight said it plans to air footage showing Lohan wearing the necklace involved in her criminal case during a show today.

Lohan returns to court tomorrow, when her lawyer will tell a judge whether the Mean Girls actress will accept a plea deal in the felony grand theft case that guarantees a jail sentence.

The video was sold by a representative of Kamofie to a commercial images unit of The Associated Press, which then licensed it exclusively to Entertainment Tonight.

Christopher Spencer, a crisis management expert who represents the jewellery store, explained in a statement the reason the footage was sold.

"Most important, we were upset with the various mischaracterisations we were seeing and hearing about the video and its contents, and we felt the video should be allowed to speak for itself," Mr Spencer's statement read.

"There were also many media inquiries asking for release of the video, which is not any sort of secret evidence. The bottom line is we felt there was far too much speculation about the video recording, and that it was right for the public to be able to see the video itself."

A website, necklacevideo.com, has been registered and may be used to stream the video online at a later date.

The footage's release could impact on Lohan's criminal case, which is the most serious charge the troubled actress has faced. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Keith Schwartz has promised to send Lohan to jail if she accepts a plea deal to end the case early.

The surveillance video almost certainly would have been aired at a preliminary hearing if Lohan decided to fight the case.

"With regard to the question of Lindsay Lohan's guilt or innocence, we repeat that Kamofie & Co never gave permission to Lohan to remove the necklace from the store," Mr Spencer said in his statement. "The rest is up to the jury."

hnews@herald.ie