LOS ANGELES — Actress Lindsay Lohan is expected to enter a no-contest plea this week to a misdemeanor theft charge in connection with an incident four months ago, sources familiar with the case said Monday.

Lohan is accused of stealing a $2,500 necklace from a Venice, Calif., jeweler.

One source familiar with the case said Lohan’s attorney Shawn Holley may enter the plea Wednesday during a scheduled pretrial hearing. Lohan, 24, is not required to be present before the judge.

A source familiar with Lohan had previously told the Los Angeles Times that the actress wants “to get this all behind her and move forward in a positive and productive way” and that a no-contest plea “would be consistent with that.”

Last month, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Stephanie Sautner reduced the charge in the case from a felony to a misdemeanor, a move that could significantly reduce the amount of time Lohan would spend behind bars if convicted. The judge said she thought the reduction of the charge was justified and that it occurs all the time in less high-profile cases.

‘Rings’ actor managing congressional campaign

LOS ANGELES — Sean Astin helped save Middle-earth in “The Lord of the Rings.” But can the actor who played good-hearted “Sam” in the big-screen trilogy save a first-time congressional candidate?

Astin is serving as campaign manager for entertainment industry executive Daniel H. Adler, who is one of 16 candidates in a special election next week in the coastal 36th Congressional District along the western edge of Los Angeles County.

Adler is waging an outsider’s campaign against better-known and better-funded rivals. Astin said his longtime friend is the straight-talking alternative to career politicians.

Whitney Houston being treated in outpatient program


NEW YORK — Whitney Houston is back in rehab. A representative for the superstar singer confirmed Monday that Houston is undergoing treatment. Kristen Foster said Houston is in an out-patient program for drug and alcohol treatment. She said it is a voluntary measure and part of Houston’s “long-standing” recovery process.

The 47-year-old, one of the most successful singers in pop music history, has battled problems with drug addiction for years. But in 2009, as she released a comeback album, she declared herself healthy and clean.

However, her 2010 tour overseas was troubled: Houston canceled some dates due to illness and received negative reviews from fans. Earlier this year, she gave an uneven performance in tribute to cousin Dionne Warwick at mogul Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy gala.

Last week, Houston sang on stage with Chaka Khan during Prince’s concert in Los Angeles.

Sarah Palin gets restraining order extended


ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A restraining order against a 19-year-old Pennsylvania man accused of stalking Sarah Palin has been extended for six months, following testimony from the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee that she feared for the safety of herself, her family and friends.

Palin testified by phone that she believed Shawn Christy of McAdoo was sending out a clear signal when he made a one-day visit to Alaska on her birthday in February.