Jury Pool for Winona Ryder Trial Has Hollywood Connections

Winona Ryder is facing a jury pool of her Hollywood peers as she prepares for trial on felony charges related to shoplifting allegations.

At least three prospective jurors on Friday told the judge they have ties to studios Ryder has worked for in the past. One is producer Peter Guber, the former chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Guber said he was with the studio when Ryder made a movie for Sony, but said he could be fair and impartial if chosen. Guber also said he had not had any contact with the actress.

Ryder was in director Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 thriller Dracula, which was released by Sony. Guber resigned from Sony Pictures in 1994.

Other prospective jurors included a freelance casting director who was ultimately dismissed. The woman said she was working on a film that involved Ryder and felt her career might be hurt by sitting on the jury.

Another woman has been a legal secretary at MGM for 30 years. Ryder starred with Richard Gere in a 2000 MGM film, Autumn in New York.

"I think we have all the movie studios represented now," said Superior Court Judge Elden Fox.

Jury selection began Thursday and was expected to continue next week.

The 30-year-old actress was arrested last December at a Saks Fifth Avenue and is accused of stealing nearly $5,000 worth of designer merchandise, including hats, handbags, tops and hair accessories. She could face up to three years in prison if convicted of three felony counts of grand theft, second-degree burglary and vandalism.

Potential jurors learned that the judge was prohibiting them from shopping at Saks Fifth Ave during the trial.

"I am sure they won't appreciate that, but it's only five to seven days," Fox said.