BEVERLY HILLS, Calif – A Saks Fifth Avenue security guard testified Wednesday that she saw Winona Ryder cutting sensor tags off merchandise before the actress was accused of shoplifting.
Guard Colleen Rainey said she had been told to put Ryder under surveillance, and saw the actress cutting the tags off handbags inside a fitting room.
Rainey quoted Ryder, after she was detained, as saying: "Didn't my assistant pay for it?"
Rainey also reiterated earlier testimony from another guard who said that after Ryder was detained, she said she was shoplifting to prepare for a role in a movie.
"She said it was a movie called Shopgirl," Rainey said.
Rainey added that Ryder later told police that she was practicing for a movie to be called White Jazz, a crime drama in which she was to play a shoplifter.
Ryder, 31, is accused of stealing more than $5,500 worth of hats and other designer merchandise on Dec. 12, 2001. She is charged with grand theft, burglary and vandalism and faces up to three years in prison if convicted.
The store's security chief, Ken Evans, testified earlier that Ryder said she was shoplifting at the behest of a director for a role.
During cross-examination Wednesday, defense attorney Mark Geragos suggested that Evans told a co-worker after the arrest that he was going to "nail" the actress. Evans denied that.
Mara Buxbaum, a Ryder publicist who is attending the trial, said the actress was in discussions about Shopgirl and White Jazz at the time but neither role involved shoplifting. She claimed the testimony distorted Ryder's conversation with guards.
Meanwhile, Superior Court Judge Elden Fox scheduled a hearing Thursday in response to an appeals court ruling on a motion by news organizations seeking to unseal documents in the case.
The ruling said Fox erred in holding secret hearings and in failing to publicly justify sealing pretrial documents. The appeals court gave Fox the option to hold the hearing to justify his actions.