Image Credit: Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage.comLindsay Lohan’s starring in some must-see footage this week — unfortunately, it’s not going anywhere near the multiplexes. Almost one month after the actress dominated headlines when the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office filed grand felony theft charges against Lohan for allegedly stealing a $2,500 necklace from a Venice, Calif., boutique, the store, Kamofie and Company, has released its surveillance video footage from Jan. 22, the day the alleged theft took place. But likely more interesting than the video itself — which will reportedly stream on necklacevideo.com (snippets already aired Monday night on Entertainment Tonight and The Insider) — is the question of whether its release will have an impact on Lohan’s fate.
According to the site, rights to the images in the video can be obtained through the Associated Press, and financial terms licensing the exclusive video to ET and Insider have not been disclosed. (The AP is only issuing this statement about their involvement in the video: “Under an agreement with the copyright owner of the video, AP’s commercial images division worked out a deal allowing Entertainment Tonight to air the video exclusively at this time.”) But some legal experts are saying Lohan’s defense team can now argue that the sale of the footage proves the store had a financial incentive to accuse the actress of stealing from them.
Christopher Spencer of Spencer Company, the organization behind the necklacevideo.com website (they also do corporate communications for Kamofie and Company), denies that claim. According to Spencer, it was not money that motivated the store to release the footage but a desire to clear up speculation over what was actually in the footage itself. “[Kamofie and Company] reached out to us for help, because they were being basically inundated with thousands of requests to see the video,” Spencer tells EW. “They needed some advice. I went ahead and made the decision for them that I thought that it was a good idea [to release the tape].” Kamofie and Company’s official statement echoes Spencer’s explanation: “We were upset with the various mischaracterizations we were seeing and hearing about the video and its contents, and we felt the video should be allowed to speak for itself.”
But with Lohan’s next court date set for March 10, will the tape’s release intervene with her still-undecided case? (As of last month, Lohan’s lawyer told press that the actress will be seeking a plea bargain, but with jail time on the table as part of the plea, that could easily change.) Defense attorney and Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney Managing Partner Stuart Slotnick says the tape’s release could help Lohan’s case. “It is such a positive development for Lindsay Lohan,” Slotnick says. “It is awful blow to the prosecution’s case. [It seems Kamofie and Company is] trying to get publicity for themselves and for money. If I was the defense attorney, I’d say this is all a PR stunt for the jewelry shop. Her claim that she forgot to return a small piece of jewelry is a really believable claim.” (Lindsay’s camp tells EW they are not commenting on the video.)
Spencer argues that because the tape would have been released during trial — that is, if the case even goes to trial — the video should not change the proceedings in any way. “We felt it would not have any effect on a criminal proceedings. Because it’s just a fact of what happened,” Spencer says.
As for claims that Kamofie was out for money and PR, Spencer says, “I don’t really have a response to that, because it’s obviously incorrect. It continues to address something that we’ve already said is false. It’s untrue that there’s an initial motive to get PR. If that was true, we wouldn’t wait two months [to release the tape].”
Kamofie and Company are also sticking to their story. “With regard to the question of Lindsay Lohan’s guilt or innocence, we repeat that Kamofie and Company never gave permission to Ms. Lohan to remove the necklace from the store,” the store said via a statement. “The rest is up to the jury … The tape speaks for itself. Anyone who is interested in the case should watch the tape.” We guarantee they will find an audience.