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Drug Charge Dropped, Trial Delayed for Winona Ryder

Prosecutor says the actress' doctor gave her the painkiller she had when arrested. Her shoplifting case is put off till next Thursday.

October 17, 2002|From a Times Staff Writer

Acting on the recommendation of prosecutors, a judge dismissed a felony drug possession charge against actress Winona Ryder on Wednesday.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Elden S. Fox scheduled a trial on the remaining theft allegations against her for next Thursday.

Ryder attended the court session in Beverly Hills, but remained silent except to tell Fox that she did not object to going to trial next week.

Los Angeles County Deputy Dist. Atty. Ann Rundle recommended the dismissal last week. She has said that Ryder "lacked criminal knowledge" needed for a conviction because her doctor gave the drug, a painkiller, to her.

She said Wednesday that the doctor, whom she did not identify, dispensed the drug without a prescription.

"Any criminal responsibility" would be with the doctor rather than Ryder, Rundle said. Rundle said the doctor's action is the subject of "an ongoing investigation."

Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office, refused to reveal the name of the doctor and said she did not know which agency was investigating the matter.

Ryder, 30, is accused of taking about $6,000 in merchandise, including purses, hats, hair bands, a sweater and a shirt, from Saks Fifth Avenue on Dec. 12. The charges included grand theft, burglary and vandalism. She faces up to three years in prison if convicted. She is free on $20,000 bond.

The drug, Oxycodone, was found by police after her arrest. Her lawyer said Ryder was taking the drug for an arm injury.

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