Shawn Holley

By Cottle, Michelle | Newsweek, December 24, 2012 | Go to article overview

Shawn Holley


Cottle, Michelle, Newsweek


Byline: Michelle Cottle

The first call for celebrities in trouble.

what do Lindsay Lohan, Mike Tyson, Axl Rose, the Kardashian sisters, Paris Hilton, Michael Jackson, Tupac Shakur, and Snoop Dogg have in common? They are among the myriad celebrities who, upon finding themselves in legal jams, turned to Shawn Holley to save the day.

One of the nation's top entertainment lawyers, the Santa Monica, Calif.-based Holley specializes in troubleshooting for Hollywood's rich and famous. A former public defender, she got her start as a member of Johnnie Cochran's defense team in the O.J. Simpson murder trial. Seven teen years later, celebs-behaving-badly has grown into its own special branch of law--and Holley, who just turned 50, is among its most experienced practitioners.

Holley's most notorious client these days is Lohan. Drunk driving (guilty plea), cocaine use (guilty plea), theft ("no contest" plea), multiple probation violations (some ending in arrest warrants, some not)--LiLo seems barely able to leave the house without running afoul of the legal system. On Nov. 29, the 26-year-old actress had the dubious distinction of being arrested for third-degree assault in New York just hours before being charged in California with three misdemeanors stemming from a June car crash in which she drove her Porsche into a dump truck (reckless driving), then denied to police that she had been the one behind the wheel (providing false info to and resisting or obstructing law enforcement). Two weeks later, a judge voided Lohan's probation and set a January hearing that could land her in the slammer.

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