- Title: USA: FILM STAR WINONA RYDER'S SHOPLIFTING TRIAL ENTERS FINAL PHASE
- Date: 6th November 2002
- Summary: (W8) BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (NOVEMBER 4, 2002) (REUTERS) SLV PAN MEDIA OUTSIDE THE BEVERLY HILLS COURTHOUSE, SITE OF THE WINONA RYDER SHOPLIFTING TRIAL (4 SHOTS) MV WINONA RYDER WALKING THROUGH SECURITY AREA AND METAL DETECTOR INSIDE THE COURTHOUSE (4 SHOTS)
- Embargoed: 21st November 2002 12:00
- Location: BEVERLY HILLS AND LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES AND VARIOUS FILM LOCATIONS
- Country: USA
- Topics: Crime,Entertainment,People
- Reuters ID: LVA9AT6QZCCMS1J1O230MEALDZ45
- Story Text: Winona Ryder's shoplifting trial entered its final phase without ever hearing the actress's own direct account of the ill-fated shopping spree last December that could land her in jail.
Without Ryder's testimony, it was left to the prosecution to suggest on Monday (November 4, 2002) in closing arguments that Ryder cut security tags and walked out of the store loaded down with expensive clothes and handbags simply for the thrill of it.
The defence was to present its closing argument later on Monday and the case was then set to go to the jury.
Deputy District Attorney Ann Rundle told the jury that one of the opening scenes of Ryder's most famous movie "Girl, Interrupted" contains a voice-over by the actress's screen character "about the thrill of walking into a store and taking property without paying."
Ryder's lawyer Mark Geragos closed the defence case on Monday having called just four witnesses last week, but without asking the Oscar-nominated actress to take the stand.
Thirty-one-year-old Ryder looking glamorous in a cream pleated dress and cream jacket, denies charges of shoplifting some 5,500 U.S dollars of designer merchandise from the posh Saks Fifth Avenue store in Beverly Hills last December. She could face up to three years in prison if convicted.
In a courtroom so packed with media and members of the public that tickets for seats had to handed out, Rundle told the jury that the six-day trial came down to a simple case of theft.
Rundle said Ryder went to Saks bringing "her burglary tools with her" in the form of scissors to cut off security tags and a plastic bag full of nothing but tissue paper.
Ripping into defence arguments that Saks staff decided to target Ryder because she was a celebrity, Rundle replayed a section of the infamous 90-minute videotape that shows Ryder bending down in the store stuffing socks and hair bows into a hat she was carrying.
Rundle said the court had heard from no witnesses to support defense claims that Ryder had left her account at the store open that day. Nor had there been any evidence supporting Ryder's alleged claim to Saks staff that she had been told by a director to shoplift in preparation for a movie role.
She reminded the jury of testimony that while in the Saks dressing room, Ryder sent two store assistants to fetch a Coke for her. Rundle said the request was "specifically so she would have all the time and all the privacy to cut tags off and stuff them in her bag."
Ryder and her lawyer sat looking glum and stony-faced as Rundle ended with her own barbed Top 10 list of things the law does not say, including "only poor people steal."
Rundle said people stole or shoplifted for greed, for envy and sometimes "for the thrill of it."
Rundle's list also noted there was no law saying that "a crime is okay if your director tells you to do it," "if you sell 200 U.S dollars hair bows you deserve to get ripped off,"
and "there is a higher standard of proof for celebrities."
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