The parents of embattled actress Winona Ryder lashed out at prosecutors, calling their pursuit of the Oscar-nominated beauty and accused shoplifter a "witch hunt.

A Los Angeles County judge ordered Ryder to appear in court this morning for the possible start of her trial for allegedly swiping $6,000 worth of goods from a Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills in December.

Ryder was supposed to be in court Tuesday but was a no-show because her defense lawyer Mark Geragos had a scheduling conflict. Judge Elden Fox pushed the actress' case back one more day.

Ryder's parents, Mike and Cindy Horowitz, said they believe prosecutors are unjustly pursuing their daughter because of her fame.

Mike Horowitz, her 63-year-old father, likened Los Angeles prosecutors to Salem witch hunters -- an ironic comparison, since Ryder starred in the 1996 movie "The Crucible," an adaptation of Arthur Miller's famous play.

"She's been living in a Kafka novel . . . or like a character in The Crucible. Not the one she played, but the victims of a witch hunt," Horowitz told Us Weekly.

Ryder's real name is Winona Horowitz.

The Girl, Interrupted, star, who turns 31 later this month, has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree burglary, grand theft and vandalism.

"The DA turned a minor allegation to a major crime spree . . . four felonies? You have to wonder what's behind this," Ryder's dad said.

Outside court yesterday, DA spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said: "I can understand a parent's concern over a daughter." But she pointed out a judge found the evidence sufficient to warrant a trial.

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