BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – Newly released court transcripts in the shoplifting trial of Winona Ryder revealed the actress was suspected of stealing from two other high-end department stores before her arrest at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills.
Ryder was never charged in the alleged incidents at Barneys in New York and Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills, according to the documents released Friday.
The Oscar-nominated actress was convicted Wednesday of felony grand theft and vandalism for shoplifting more than $5,500 worth of merchandise from Saks last December. The "Little Women" and "Girl, Interrupted" star was found innocent of a third charge of burglary. Her sentencing has been scheduled for Dec. 6.
The transcripts detail prosecution efforts during an Oct. 24 closed hearing to introduce evidence of Ryder's alleged "prior bad acts" into her shoplifting trial.
Ryder's attorney Mark Geragos declined comment late Friday, saying he had not been informed the documents were no longer under seal.
In the transcripts, Deputy District Attorney Ann Rundle argued jurors should hear about the three incidents before judging Ryder's behavior at the Beverly Hills Saks Fifth Avenue.
"We have videotapes of two prior instances wherein she is seen doing the identical conduct that they will see on the video in our case ... selecting items, concealing those items underneath heavy garment bags or underneath her own clothing, in and out of dressing rooms and ultimately walking out of the store without paying for the item," Rundle said.
Rundle told the judge that in one case, Ryder "was seen by security selecting a hat, wandering around the store with a hat and then walking out the door with the hat on her head without paying for it, which is an almost identical act to what she is being charged with in this case."
The instances occurred at Barneys on May 14, 2000, and Oct. 10, 2001, and Nov. 29, 2001, at the Neiman Marcus store in Beverly Hills, Rundle said. How those stores handled the incidents, including whether guards confronted Ryder or only observed and videotaped her, was not stated in the transcripts.
In defense arguments, Geragos said Ryder has "never been detained. She's never been arrested." He claimed the prosecution was just trying to "throw in more garbage" because it had a weak case.
Superior Court Judge Elden Fox ruled against letting jurors hear of the prior acts, saying the evidence "would impair the defendant's ability to have a fair trial."
The judge released the transcripts of the closed hearings in response to a state appeals court decision in a case brought by The Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Daily Journal.
In an unrelated matter, the Los Angeles County Probation Department confirmed Friday that a copy of Ryder's "pre-conviction report" was missing from the department's Santa Monica office. Such a report normally contains information on a person's marital and financial status, medical history, criminal record if they have one, and the department's sentencing recommendation.
Backup copies of the copies exist, however, said Ken Kondo of the department.
Ryder faces a possible three-year prison term, though prosecutors have said they'll seek probation, community service and restitution.