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Ryder Pleads Not Guilty to Charges

Courts: The actress is accused of shoplifting at Saks Fifth Avenue and of drug possession.

June 15, 2002|ANNA GORMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Actress Winona Ryder pleaded not guilty to shoplifting and drug charges Friday during a brief appearance at a Beverly Hills courthouse.

Her arraignment came the week after Superior Court Judge Elden S. Fox ruled that there was enough evidence for Ryder to stand trial on felony charges of grand theft, burglary, vandalism and possession of drugs without a prescription.

The star of "Little Women" and "The Age of Innocence" is accused of shoplifting $4,760 worth of merchandise from Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills in December.

Ryder's attorney, Mark Geragos, also said Friday that he planned to proceed with his efforts to have the Los Angeles County district attorney's office disqualified from the case. He said in an earlier court hearing that he believed the office had an "ax to grind" with his client.

Prosecutors have filed a notice that they plan to introduce evidence of "the defendant's commission of other acts" in connection with the case, but they have declined to explain. Records show that Ryder does not have any prior convictions. Fox ordered that any motions on that issue be filed under seal.

Ryder's next scheduled court hearing is a pretrial conference July 15 in Fox's courtroom. The actress is not required to attend.

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