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Winona Ryder Trial Postponed a Day

October 15, 2002

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) _ Winona Ryder didn’t appear in court Tuesday for the start of her trial on shoplifting charges, prompting a judge to postpone her case for a day.

Judge Elden J. Fox delayed the trial until Wednesday after prosecutors and Ryder’s attorney met in his chambers. The judge, who said the actress was absent because of an ``unusual″ circumstance, previously said she should have been present Tuesday unless otherwise notified by the court.

``We’ll be back in court tomorrow,″ said Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman with the District Attorney’s Office. She declined to say why Ryder was absent.

Attorney Shepard Kopp appeared Tuesday on Ryder’s behalf; her lead attorney, Mark Geragos, was not present. Neither was immediately available for comment.

Ryder, the 30-year-old star of such films as ``Girl, Interrupted″ and ``Little Women″ will stand trial on charges of felony grand theft, burglary and vandalism. She faces up to three years in prison if convicted.

The actress was arrested Dec. 12, 2001, outside a Beverly Hills Saks Fifth Avenue store after security officers reported that she’d taken nearly $6,000 worth of designer clothing.

Discussions between defense and prosecution attorneys to resolve the case without a trial broke down in mid-September.

The judge also postponed until Wednesday a hearing to consider a prosecution motion to drop a felony drug charge against Ryder.

Officials with the District Attorney’s Office have said the defense offered a sworn statement from someone who said Ryder had reason to carry the painkillers, which were a generic form of the prescription drug Percocet.

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