Winona Ryder drug charge dropped

Oct. 16, 2002 at 3:53 PM
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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., Oct. 16 (UPI) -- The judge in the shoplifting case against Winona Ryder dismissed a drug possession charge Wednesday against the Oscar-nominated star of "Girl, Interrupted" and "Little Women."

At a brief hearing in Beverly Hills, Superior Court Judge Elden Fox ruled that Ryder's trial on charges of stealing $6,000 worth of merchandise from Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills must begin on Oct. 24.

When police arrested Ryder in December 2001, they found some prescription drugs -- but no prescription -- in her bag. Prosecutors filed a motion last week to drop the drug charges, saying that Ryder's lawyers had produced information that she was not illegally possessing drugs when she was arrested.

Ryder -- who still faces charges of grand theft, commercial burglary and vandalism -- appeared at the hearing Wednesday but did not speak. She left the courthouse quickly without speaking to reporters.

Her lawyer, Mark Geragos, told reporters that Ryder is anxious for the trial to begin.

"Winona has expressed to me that she wants to go to trial," he said. "She wants to put this behind her."

Geragos said he is confident a trial will clear Ryder's name.

"I don't go to trial unless I think I can win."

Ryder was freed on $20,000 bail following her arrest last year. She pleaded innocent to all charges at a preliminary hearing in June.

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