The top prosecutor's office in Los Angeles got Paris Hilton jailed for violating probation by driving with a suspended license and then condemned her early release.
On Monday, City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo was the one apologizing for keeping quiet about a 2004 accident in which his wife crashed his city-issued vehicle - while driving on a suspended license.
"I realized that I should have spoken up earlier. That was a mistake," Delgadillo said at a news conference. "I mishandled the situation and I apologize."
Delgadillo insisted his wife did not receive any special treatment.
He also said his wife's violation is not comparable to the Paris Hilton case.
"Paris Hilton was driving drunk, was on a probation ... she violated that probation more than once," he said. "My wife had a suspended license and then she received a ticket. She was never driving drunk."
Michelle Delgadillo's license was suspended beginning in July 2004 after her personal vehicle "bumped another car" earlier that year, said Delgadillo's spokesman, Nick Velasquez.
She did not file a report to the state motor vehicles department, but the other driver did. When she did not provide proof of insurance to the Department of Motor Vehicles, her license was suspended "unbeknownst to her," Velasquez said.
The same month her license was suspended, she crashed her husband's city-issued GMC Yukon into a pole.
She was ticketed in September 2005 for failing to obey a turn-only sign and paid a $186 fine, but was not cited for having a suspended license.
The case went through the usual traffic court channels and was not handled by the city attorney's office. Delgadillo acknowledged the violation to the Los Angeles Times earlier this month.
He said neither he nor his wife knew her license was suspended. He said his wife did not know about the suspension until 2006, when someone broke into her car and stole her license.
"She discovered her license was suspended when she went to the DMV to get a new license," he said.
Delgadillo said he reimbursed the city Monday for the $1,222 repair bill. Delgadillo said he did not initially pay the cost because he believed that city policy allowed for personal use of the vehicle.
Under city rules, city vehicles assigned to elected officials such as Delgadillo cannot be driven by a family member for personal reasons, but the city attorney said that the rule is ambiguous.
He said he will no longer allow his wife to drive the SUV.
Hilton was sent to jail earlier this month after failing a sobriety test and violating her probation twice by driving on a suspended license.
When Sheriff Lee Baca abruptly released Hilton from jail early, Delgadillo pushed for more jail time for the hotel heiress and filed a petition questioning whether the sheriff should be held in contempt of court.
Superior Court Judge Michael T. Sauer's decision to send Hilton back to jail to serve out her sentence came shortly after.
The heiress' parents said Monday that their daughter is adjusting to the Century Regional Detention Center in Lynwood and is reading letters from fans, relatives and friends.
"She's never been alone so this is, as she calls it, a real time out," Kathy Hilton told Fox News Channel's Greta Van Susteren. Kathy Hilton and her husband, Rick Hilton, visited their daughter Sunday.
Hilton is expected to be released on June 25, when she will have served about 23 days of a 45-day sentence.
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