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Thursday, 10 October, 2002, 08:03 GMT 09:03 UK
Winona drug charge may be dropped
Winona Ryder
Ms Ryder's trial is expected to begin on Tuesday
Hollywood star Winona Ryder may not face a drug charge when she goes on trial for shoplifting charges.

The actress is due in court on Tuesday accused of stealing nearly $6,000 (3,820) worth of goods last year from the exclusive department store Saks Fifth Avenue in Los Angeles.

But prosecutors have asked the judge to dismiss a charge the actress illegally possessed a painkiller.

The actress has denied charges of second degree burglary, grand theft, vandalism and drug possession.

Ms Ryder's defence has given a sworn statement from an unnamed person suggesting the star had reason to possess the Oxycodone pills, the District Attorney's office said on Wednesday.

Prescription drug

The judge is expected to make a ruling over the drugs charge on Tuesday when the 30-year-old actress is due to stand trial over allegations which date from December.

Ms Ryder has been on bail since her arrest.

Winona Ryder
Ms Ryder has made several court appearances
Details of the statement from the defence have not been released.

Los Angeles County District Attorney's office spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons refused to say who exactly had provided the statement.

But she said it made clear the actress did not have "the requisite criminal knowledge" to support the drug charge.

Ms Ryder's defence lawyer, Mark Geragos, has previously insisted the actress had a prescription for the painkillers.

He said he was pleased with the district attorney's decision.

"It simplifies things immensely," he said.

The case has proved complex and lengthy as both sides have argued over details.

Mr Geragos has argued his client would not get a fair hearing because of the publicity surrounding the case.

See also:

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