Drug Charge Dropped Against Winona

A judge dismissed a drug charge Wednesday against actress Winona Ryder and scheduled an Oct. 24 trial on three remaining felony counts stemming from her alleged shoplifting of $6,000 worth of merchandise.

Superior Court Judge Elden Fox ruled in favor of a prosecution motion to dismiss the charge that Ryder illegally possessed pain killers when she was arrested last Dec. 12 outside a Saks Fifth Avenue store in Beverly Hills.

"It's unfortunate it's taken them 10 months to do this," said Mark Geragos, Ryder's attorney. "I applaud them."

Geragos said prosecutors had evidence almost immediately after Ryder's arrest that she had a prescription for the two pills, a generic form of the pain killer Percocet.

"The worst thing you can say is that she was trying to save a couple of bucks," Geragos quipped outside court in reference to the generic pills.

Deputy District Attorney Ann Rundle said after the hearing that the charge was dropped after the defense provided a sworn declaration from Ryder's doctor that he had provided the Oxycodone pills to the actress without a prescription.

"The responsibility for providing the drug would be the doctor's," said Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. "Therefore, the criminal responsibility is not (Ryder's)."

Gibbons said there was an ongoing investigation into how Ryder obtained the pills but declined further comment.

Ryder, 30, appeared in court wearing a pale, pink dress and long, off-white coat with a pale polka dot pattern.

The star of Girl, Interrupted and other films smiled at court employees and seemed upbeat as she chatted with the bailiff before the hearing. However, she did not speak during the proceedings and offered no comment while leaving the courtroom.

Ryder will stand trial on the remaining charges of felony grand theft, burglary and vandalism. She faces up to three years in prison if convicted.

The hearing was delayed Tuesday after Geragos was unable to attend because he is also involved in on ongoing attempted murder trial in another court.