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Tuesday, 16 July, 2002, 07:29 GMT 08:29 UK
Winona Ryder must stand trial
Winona Ryder on Monday
Ms Ryder's appearances have caused media scrums
Actress Winona Ryder's trial will go ahead after a judge refused to disqualify a district attorney from prosecuting her on shoplifting charges.

The judge rejected her lawyer's allegations that Los Angeles County district attorney's office had been trying to humiliate her.

Ms Ryder's lawyer Mark Geragos accused a prosecution spokeswoman of making inaccurate statements to the media.

Winona Ryder leaves court wearing a sling
Ms Ryder hurt her arm before a previous court appearance
But Superior Court Judge Elden Fox said on Monday he would be more concerned if lawyers had made the statements, rather than their press spokeswoman.

The 30-year-old American star of Girl, Interrupted and the new Adam Sandler comedy Mr Deeds, who did not appear in court, was arrested in December at a Saks Fifth Avenue department store in Beverly Hills.

She was allegedly carrying morphine-based painkillers without a prescription and stole nearly $6,000 (3,820) worth of designer merchandise.

Security video

Charged with theft, vandalism and possession of a controlled substance, Ms Ryder could face three years and eight months in prison if convicted.

Mr Geragos said district attorney's spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons had wrongly described a Saks security video early in the case.

Winona Ryder at the 2001 Oscars
The actress's next movie appearance will be in Mr Deeds with Adam Sandler

It was alleged that Ms Ryder was seen on the video cutting off anti-theft tags from items.

But Mr Geragos maintained there was no such scene on the videotape.

"You keep referring to a spokesperson. What are you ascribing to the attorneys in the office?" the judge asked Mr Geragos.

"I'm ascribing to them efforts to humiliate my client and stop her from having the right to a fair trial," Mr Geragos replied.

He added: "Most people believe the press spokesperson is speaking for the district attorney himself."

Ms Gibbons was not in her office on Monday and could not be reached.

But her boss, communications director Joe Scott, said in a statement: "It is ubiquitous legal TV commentator Mark Geragos, not Sandi Gibbons... who has a legal forum for his views. This office does its talking in court."

Outside court, Mr Geragos said he did not know yet whether he would appeal against the judge's ruling.

The judge scheduled another hearing for 13 August, where a trial date is likely to be set.

See also:

14 Jun 02 | Entertainment
11 Jun 02 | Entertainment
04 Jun 02 | Entertainment
14 Dec 01 | Entertainment
14 Mar 02 | Americas
13 Mar 02 | Entertainment
01 Feb 02 | Entertainment
07 Jun 02 | Entertainment
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