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Ryder Injured by TV Camera

Court: Actress accused of shoplifting is struck in media crush. Arm is broken, her lawyer says.

June 04, 2002|ANNA GORMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Actress Winona Ryder suffered a fractured arm Monday when she was struck by a television camera as she entered a courthouse for a hearing in her shoplifting case, her lawyer said.

The star of "Age of Innocence" and "Reality Bites" was later treated by a doctor and her arm was placed in a sling.

As Ryder, 30, sat in the Beverly Hills courtroom with ice and a large bandage on her right elbow, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Elden S. Fox agreed to a break so that the actress could seek treatment.

From the bench, Fox scolded reporters and photographers, urging them to be more courteous and ordered them to stay 10 feet from Ryder as she left the courtroom for the doctor's office. He also said that one of the Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies escorting Ryder into the courthouse was knocked in the head by a news camera.

Television video shows Ryder making her way through more than a dozen cameras when shoving and pushing break out. A sheriff's deputy appears to bump into a cameraman, who appears to knock into another deputy, Ryder and her attorney.

That cameraman, Daniel Peek from KNBC Channel 4, said the deputy pushed him, causing a domino effect.

Ryder was arrested for allegedly shoplifting $4,760 in merchandise from the Saks Fifth Avenue department store in Beverly Hills on Dec. 12. She has been charged with grand theft, burglary, vandalism and illegal possession of Oxycodone, a powerful prescription pain reliever.

She was accused of stealing socks, handbags, a hair band, two hats and a blouse, and faces up to three years and eight months in state prison if convicted.

Ryder has maintained her innocence through her attorney, Mark Geragos, who said his client has receipts for the merchandise and prescriptions for the medication.

Ryder, wearing a cream-colored coat and matching headband, heard sworn testimony for the first time Monday accusing her of theft.

Security manager Kenneth Evans testified for about 30 minutes, saying that Ryder passed by three open registers before leaving the store. Evans detailed her movements throughout the store, describing how she went to the Gucci, Yves St. Laurent and Donna Karan boutiques and pulled blouses, bags and hats off racks.

He first noticed her just after 4 p.m. as she was on the first floor in the accessories section, Evans said. She was wearing a long cashmere coat and carrying several bags, including a red Saks bag and a gray garment bag.

Using a diagram of the store, Evans showed how he watched the actress with surveillance cameras. She took the escalator to the third floor and back down, gathering items, he said.

Evans said she put on a black hat and wandered throughout the store without taking it off. She concealed a handbag in one of her bags, he testified.

Ryder twice entered dressing rooms and spoke to salesclerks several times, he said. Evans sent another security agent to the second floor fitting room to watch her more closely.

Ryder, whose new movie "Mr. Deeds" is due out this month, recently hosted "Saturday Night Live," in which she acted in a skit about shoplifting.

Before the testimony, Geragos told Fox that he did not believe prosecutors were treating Ryder fairly.

"I want a disinterested prosecutor," Geragos told the judge. "I want somebody who doesn't have an ax to grind."

Geragos filed a motion to disqualify the district attorney's office from the case. Fox did not rule on the motion. The hearing is set to resume Thursday.

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