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'The Simple Life' star Nicole Richie granted second delay in DUI trial

By Christopher Rocchio, 07/11/2007 

Nicole Richie's wish is apparently Los Angeles County Commissioner Steven Lubell's command.

For the second time in three weeks, Lubell has granted The Simple Life star a postponement of her trial on charges stemming from a December arrest for driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, People reported Wednesday.

Richie's trial was scheduled to commence today, however her attorney Shawn Chapman Holley asked its start be postponed to August 13 because a drug expert retained to testify on his client's behalf -- Dr. Terrance Sean McGee -- would be unable to do so until August 5 because he's out of the country.  Lubell granted the delay, according to People, and rescheduled the trial to begin on August 16.

"Dr. Terence McGee is going to challenge the prosecution's scientific evidence," Holley told People. "Observations were made of Ms. Richie that he can [refute]." 

According to Holley, a urine analysis taken the night of Richie's December 11 arrest -- when she failed a sobriety test and admitted to smoking marijuana and taking the painkiller Vicodin before allegedly driving the wrong way on a freeway -- was "unreliable," People reported.

The 25-year-old pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor count of driving under the influence in February, and her trial was originally scheduled to start June 25 until Lubell granted the first postponement at the request of Richie's lawyers on June 19. 

Lubell's decision to grant Richie a second delay is particularly surprising given he had insisted he wouldn't grant any additional delays when he granted Richie's prior postponement request.

"She has two options: Either she goes to trial or she changes her 'not guilty' plea," Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office, had told Reuters about Lubell's June 19 ruling that had postponed the trial's start until July 11.

A Los Angeles Superior Court spokesman told People a plea deal was offered to Richie -- the details of which were not disclosed -- however Holley has since turned it down, at least for the time being.  Because Richie has a previous DUI conviction from 2003, she could be sentenced up to a year in jail and given a $1,000 fine. 

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