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Ryder ordered to stand trial

Ryder arrives at Thursday's hearing.
Ryder arrives at Thursday's hearing.  


BEVERLY HILLS, California (CNN) -- A judge ordered actress Winona Ryder on Thursday to stand trial on four counts of shoplifting, burglary, vandalism and illegal drug possession. An arraignment was set for Friday, June 14.

Prosecutors presented evidence they said shows Ryder stole more than $6,000 worth of items from a Saks Fifth Avenue store in Beverly Hills last December. The drug charge involves the alleged possession of a controlled substance -- oxycodone, a painkiller.

Her attorney, Mark Geragos, said following the much-delayed preliminary hearing that his client would be proven innocent.

"I believe that Saks targeted her. I've got evidence that Saks targeted her," he said. "Why have they decided to pick on this woman?

"My position is she didn't steal these items," he said. Ryder previously pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Deputy District Attorney Julie Jurek disagreed. "The people have a very strong case," she said. "The defendant has been held to answer, and we will now be preparing for trial."

Ryder attended the hearing wearing a black dress and had her right arm in a sling, the result of an elbow fracture she received Monday in a fracas outside the courthouse.

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CNN's Paul Clinton reports on the injury that caused the delay in Winona Ryder's hearing (June 4)

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In the incident, Ryder was clipped by a camera as reporters and camera crews jostled trying to take pictures of her as she came back into the courthouse during a recess.

The postponement caused by the injury was the fourth for the hearing. Thursday's proceedings were halted for a few minutes after the actress complained of pain in her arm.

Ryder was arrested last December 12 outside Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills. Police said she shoplifted numerous women's hair accessories, handbags and various items of women's clothing.

Geragos produced a sales receipt for almost $4,000 that he implied proves Ryder actually paid for the allegedly stolen merchandise.

A Saks security official, Kenneth Evans, testified the receipt was for just one pair of Gucci shoes that Ryder purchased, not for the items she is accused of stealing. Prosecutors said she stole 21 items valued in excess of $6,000.

A considerable amount of the morning's testimony from Evans was about the video surveillance techniques he used to monitor the actress as she moved around the store.

Evans also testified that his staff recovered several security tags from a dressing room used by Ryder. He said the tags appeared to have been cut off from the merchandise rather than removed by the equipment the store uses when a sale is made.

Evans said at one point that when he first saw Ryder on the video surveillance cameras he thought she was a homeless person because she was carrying so many shopping bags.

That prompted Geragos to ask how many homeless people Saks gets wearing three-quarter length cashmere coats.

Among those at the Thursday hearing was Mark Klaas, whose 12-year-old daughter, Polly, was abducted from her California home in 1993 and killed by a convicted kidnapper. Ryder offered a $200,000 reward when Polly was missing.

Klaas told reporters that Ryder is a close friend and a "woman of great character."

"I think it's terrible what they're doing to her. I've seen her character assassinated from the 12th of December on, and I'm here to support her," he said.



 
 
 
 


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