In her first public comments since she was handed a 45-day jail sentence for a driving related offense, celebrity heiress Paris Hilton has described her punishment as cruel and unwarranted.
She also fired her spokesman, veteran publicist Elliot Mintz, whom she blamed for getting her into the mess.
Visibly shocked and tearful, the 26-year-old socialite was sentenced to 45 days in a suburban Los Angeles jail after a judge ruled she knowingly violated her probation on a previous traffic offense by driving without a valid license.
At the hearing, Hilton said Mintz had told her she was permitted to drive for work-related reasons. But Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Sauer rejected her claims and ordered her to turn herself in by June 5.
“I told the truth,” Hilton told photographers waiting outside her Los Angeles home on Saturday night.
“I feel that I was treated unfairly and that the sentence is both cruel and unwarranted. I don’t deserve this.”
Her lawyer, Howard Weitzman, has said he will appeal “to modify the sentence.”
Mintz, whose clients have included John Lennon and Bob Dylan, took the stand in Hilton’s defense, but his testimony was rejected as worthless by the judge.
In a statement published on Sunday by news web site TMZ.com, Mintz was said he was “deeply and profoundly sorry” for giving his client bad advice.
“Due to this misunderstanding, I am no longer representing Paris. For the record, I have nothing but love and respect for Paris and her family. Paris is a wonderful person and does not deserve the punishment that was handed down by the court. I only wish her my best.”
Hilton’s troubles began last September when she was arrested for drunk driving. In January, she pleaded no contest — the equivalent of a guilty plea — and was sentenced to three years’ probation and had her license suspended. In February, she was pulled over again for driving without headlights. Police impounded her blue Bentley when they discovered she was driving on a suspended license.