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D.A. Still Reviewing Ryder Case

Crime: Actress accused of shoplifting faces hearing reset to Feb. 8.

January 11, 2002|ANNA GORMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

With prosecutors still undecided whether to file criminal charges against Winona Ryder in an alleged shoplifting case, the actress appeared Thursday in Beverly Hills Superior Court and received a judge's permission to remain free on bail.

Ryder was arrested last month on suspicion of stealing $4,700 worth of merchandise from the Saks Fifth Avenue store in Beverly Hills and of possessing pain medication without a prescription.

Superior Court Judge Elden S. Fox extended the bond that Ryder posted and ordered her to return to court Feb. 8. She will remain free on $20,000 bail until that date.

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office is still reviewing the case and plans to determine whether to formally charge Ryder by that date, spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said.

"There is still some information being presented to us by police and other sources," Gibbons said outside court. "We want to review all the possible evidence before we decide on this case."

Ryder, dressed in a black sweater and black skirt, stood in court for less than a minute next to her attorney, Mark Geragos. The pair left through a back door, avoiding the reporters waiting outside the courtroom.

Geragos said later that he has discussed the case with prosecutors and plans to show them what he believes is exonerating evidence. He declined to elaborate.

"Once they examine the evidence I have, I'm hoping that these charges, at least a portion of them, will not be filed," he said later Thursday.

Ryder, 30, was allegedly seen Dec. 13 by store security personnel and on video monitors grabbing women's clothing and hair accessories, removing anti-theft devices from the items and stuffing them into a large bag.

When security personnel confronted her outside, they found the merchandise and the pain medication. Police have said that Ryder did not appear to be under the influence of the prescription painkillers when she was arrested.

She was booked on suspicion of felony grand theft and felony possession of pharmaceuticals without a prescription.

Geragos has said that Ryder had receipts for the clothing and a valid prescription for the medication and that the arrest resulted from a misunderstanding.

Ryder is a two-time Academy Award nominee, for best actress in "Little Women" and for best supporting actress in "The Age of Innocence."

She had been set to appear in court today, but the hearing was changed to Thursday because Geragos had a scheduling conflict.

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