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Prosecution Rests In Ryder Trial

The prosecution has rested in the shoplifting trial of actress Winona Ryder.

The last prosecution witness, Police Detective Mark Parker, was the third prosecution witness to say Ryder admitted to shoplifting, using the excuse that she was preparing for a film role.

Parker quoted Ryder as saying she was trying to get into character for a role as a kleptomaniac when she took items from the Beverly Hills Saks Fifth Avenue store without paying for them.

During cross-examination, defense attorney Mark Geragos accused each of the witnesses of making up the alleged statement. He pointed to reports written the day Ryder was arrested last December and said the statement did not appear in those initial reports.

However, at least one of the security guards put that statement into a supplemental report the day after Ryder was arrested.

Geragos also aggressively attacked the testimony of a key witness in the actress' shoplifting trial Thursday, accusing the former store security guard of profiting from the case and making up stories.

Witness Colleen Rainey denied the claims by Geragos, who at one point was warned by Superior Court Judge Elden Fox that he risked being in contempt and at another point was cautioned on the relevance of his questioning.

Ryder, 31, is charged with felony grand theft, burglary and vandalism for allegedly stealing more than $5,500 worth of merchandise from the Beverly Hills Saks Fifth Avenue on Dec. 12, 2001. She faces up to three years in prison if convicted.

Rainey, a Saks security guard at the time and now a graduate student, testified earlier that she saw Ryder cut sensor tags off merchandise and that, after being detained, Ryder claimed she shoplifted to prepare for a film role.

During cross-examination, Geragos displayed documents detailing the finances of Rainey and her husband when the judge interrupted. "Are you going to tie this into something relevant, or just go into her family background?" the judge asked.

Geragos insisted he would show relevance, but he never proved the couple somehow benefited from her involvement in the Ryder case. The judge later warned Geragos he could be held in contempt after the attorney made a remark about "perjury," or lying in testimony, while questioning Rainey.

Rainey is considered a key witness because she testified that she peered through slats in a fitting room door and saw Ryder on the floor using scissors to cut sensor tags off merchandise.

At one point Geragos kneeled on the floor of the courtroom and asked if the witness had seen Ryder "sitting like I am and cutting sensor tags?"

"Yes," said the witness.