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Friday, 1 November, 2002, 10:22 GMT
Winona lawyer accuses witness
Winona Ryder
Ms Ryder could face three years in jail
The shop detective who arrested Winona Ryder for suspected shoplifting has been accused of trying to profit from her story, during the fourth day of the actress's trial in Beverly Hills.

Ms Ryder is accused of trying to steal more than $5,500 (3,500) of designer goods from the exclusive department store Saks near Los Angeles in December.

Former Saks security guard Colleen Rainey, who testified to seeing Ms Ryder remove security tags from items in the shop, was told by the actress's defence attorney that she had made up her story and tried to sell her account.

Actress Winona Ryder
Ms Ryder was arrested last December

Ms Rainey had given evidence as the main and final prosecution witness in the case against the actress, who denies felony charges of grand theft, commercial burglary and vandalism.

If Ms Ryder is convicted, she could face three years in jail.

The case for Ms Ryder's defence is expected to begin properly at the Beverly Hills Superior Court on Friday.

Warning

On Thursday, Ms Ryder's lawyer Mark Geragos suggested to Ms Rainey that she was hoping to profit from the case through the writing company she ran with her husband.

He suggested Ms Rainey had invented her account of seeing Ms Ryder kneeling over a pile of goods in a fitting room as she cut off their electronic security sensors.

Actress Winona Ryder
It is not known if Ms Ryder will testify

Mr Geragos added that Ms Rainey had gone through Ms Ryder's handbag and copied down phone numbers of actor Keanu Reeves and U2 lead singer Bono.

Ms Rainey, who was working for the Saks Fifth Avenue department store when Ms Ryder allegedly stole 20 items, denied the accusations.

Judge Elden Fox later issued Mr Geragos with a stern warning to stop accusing prosecution witnesses of perjury.

Role

The head of security at Saks said earlier this week that the actress, who was arrested outside the shop, had apologised.

She also allegedly claimed that her director had told her to steal to prepare for a film role as a shoplifter.

Previous witnesses had testified that Ms Ryder told them she was preparing for a role in a movie called Shopgirl.

She later allegedly said the movie was to be White Jazz. Neither film has been produced.

Ms Ryder is best known for roles in films such as The Age of Innocence, Alien: Resurrection, and Girl, Interrupted.

The jury in the trial includes several of Ms Ryder's Hollywood peers - including the former head of Sony Pictures, the studio that made three of her films.

It is not yet known whether Ms Ryder will give evidence during the trial.

See also:

31 Oct 02 | Showbiz
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14 Dec 01 | Film
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