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Thursday, 24 October, 2002, 14:21 GMT 15:21 UK
Ryder to get her day in court
Ryder at an earlier court appearance
Ryder denies shoplifting at an exclusive Hollywood store
Winona Ryder is finally expected to appear in court on Thursday, ten months after she was charged with shoplifting at a Beverly Hills store.

The Oscar-nominated actress is accused of taking $6,000 (3,877) of designer goods from Saks Fifth Avenue, one of Hollywood's most exclusive outlets, last December.

Ms Ryder, 30, faces charges of grand theft, burglary and vandalism, and could face up to three years in prison on each count. She denies all the allegations.

A fourth charge of illegal possession of the painkiller Oxycodone was dropped last week.

The case has been marked by repeated delays amid claims that Ms Ryder is being targeted because of her star status.

'Leaks'

A newspaper report on the eve of the trial claimed that prosecutors planned to call employees from two upmarket stores to support a motion regarding possible "prior acts" by Ms Ryder.

Winona Ryder
The actress could face jail
District Attorney's spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons declined to confirm the Los Angeles Times report.

She said the motion had been filed "under seal" and the judge had yet to rule on whether it would be admitted in the trial.

Ms Ryder's publicist Mara Buxbaum accused prosecutors of leaking the reports. The actress has no previous police record.

Selected films
Girl, Interrupted
Little Women
Dracula
Edward Scissorhands
Night On Earth
Heathers
Beetlejuice
It is unclear whether she will testify in her own defence in what is expected to be a two-week trial held without the presence of TV cameras.

Suspicious

At a preliminary hearing in June, store detectives testified that Ms Ryder was seen on security cameras acting suspiciously as she walked around the store laden with bags, picking out hats, handbags, hair accessories and shirts.

One Saks security investigator said she saw her kneeling on a dressing room floor cutting security tags off merchandise with a pair of scissors.

Ms Ryder's lawyer Mark Geragos accuses Saks staff of lying and alleges that prosecutors "have an axe to grind" against the actress.

The actress made fun of her plight in an appearance on the satirical Saturday Night Live TV show in May. She later appeared on the front cover of W magazine wearing a "Free Winona" T-shirt.

Ms Ryder won Academy Award nominations for her roles in Little Women and Age of Innocence.

She has been a critics' and fans' favourite in films like Girl, Interrupted, Dracula and Heathers.

See also:

16 Oct 02 | Entertainment
11 Jun 02 | Entertainment
14 Dec 01 | Entertainment
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