Ryder used aliases to obtain painkillers, prosecutors claim

Andrew Gumbel
Thursday 05 December 2002 01:00

Winona Ryder was carrying eight powerful painkilling drugs at the time of her shoplifting arrest last year, obtaining them from different doctors under at least two different names, her prosecutors have alleged.

In a brief prepared ahead of her sentence hearing tomorrow, the Los Angeles district attorney's office suggested the 31-year-old Hollywood actress has a serious addiction problem. It has recommended mandatory drug therapy as part of her punishment for stealing more than $5,000 (£3,100) of designer clothing from Saks Fifth Avenue, Beverly Hills, on 12 December 2001.

The document also recommends psychiatric counselling, 60 days of community service and a $20,000 fine over and above the value of the items damaged or stolen from the store. The prosecution has already said it will not be seeking jail time for Ms Ryder, who was convicted last month.

The brief was the first official document that went into the details of the drugs found on Ms Ryder at the time of her arrest. These drugs included diazepam, valium, and morphine sulphate.

The prosecution made clear that even if no crime had been committed there was something suspicious about the way Ms Ryder obtained the drugs. Among the aliases she used was Winona Horowitz, the actress's real name.

Her lawyer, Mark Geragos, had no immediate comment on the drug issue. But he said he would not be filing for a new trial, and was content to keep his client out of prison."I'm certainly happy they're not asking for jail time," he told reporters. "I would imagine she is pleased too."

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