Ryder in the Storm

The star's shoplifting trial ended with dramatic closing arguments from both sides as well as...

After a week of wounded looks and indignant eye rolls, Winona Ryder could no longer remain a silent movie star. "That's not true," said the accused shoplifter quietly at one point during Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Ann Rundle's closing argument on Nov. 4. Was the performance of the two-time Oscar nominee—and her conspiracy-theory-spinning lawyer Mark Geragos—convincing? At press time, the 6-woman, 6-man jury was still deliberating over whether to convict Ryder, 31, of grand theft, burglary and vandalism for an alleged $5,000-plus five-finger discount last Dec. 12. The seven-day Shoplifting Trial of the Century concluded with a dash of showbiz—from Rundle, who used a cartoon and a snappy Top 10 list of things the law doesn't say about shoplifting in her closing argument. "She came, she stole, she left," Rundle told the jury. "End of story." Not to Geragos, who suggested Saks staff fabricated evidence for personal gain and to avoid a lawsuit against the store. He even appealed to jurors' sense of chic. Brandishing an Yves Saint Laurent blouse with a large hole where Ryder had supposedly snipped off the antitheft sensor, he asked, "Was she going to start a new line of Winona Wear with holes in it?"

That question remained unanswered. So did one arising from a closed-door hearing Oct. 24 (a transcript was made public Nov. 5) in which the prosecution sought to introduce a signed statement from Ryder that began "I, Winona Ryder, agree that I have stolen these items." But without explanation, superior court Judge Elden Fox refused to let it become evidence.

A first-time offender, Ryder would likely skirt jail with a probation and community-service sentence. One thing's for sure: She'll never shop alone. Says a friend: "People are going to be watching her 24/7."

...innovative props from the prosecution

INCONSISTENT STATEMENTS

"I thought my assistant paid for the items."
Colleen Rainey & Ernie Amaya

"The Director of 'Shopgirl' told me to do it."
Colleen Rainey

"I'm researching for my part in 'White Jazz'."
Colleen Rainey

"I stole the items as a way of getting into character for a movie. I wanted to see how it felt to shoplift."
Mark Parker

"I'm not working with Studio Services."
Shirley Mask Warren

TOP 10 THINGS THE LAW DOESN'T SAY

1. Only poor people steal.
2. No video, no crime.
3. Crime is okay if your "director" tells you to do it.
4. It's not stealing as long as you paid for some items.
5. D.A. must call every person working at Saks that day.
6. Only defense attorneys or celebrities can drive nice cars.
7. If it is not in the first report, it didn't happen.
8. If you sell $200 hair bows, you deserve to get ripped off.
9. Two wrongs make a right.
10. There's a higher standard of proof for celebrities.

A Plot to Disrupt a Posh Life?

Posh Spice? Make that Scared Spice. On Nov. 2, London police arrested five men and charged them with theft or conspiracy to rob a Sotheby's auction-house employee. The police also announced that the suspects were under investigation for plotting to kidnap former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham and her two young sons for a $7.5 million ransom. Videotapes provided to authorities by undercover reporters for the British tabloid The News of the World revealed that the suspects had discussed ambushing Beckham and her sons Brooklyn, 3, and 2-month-old Romeo outside their home and sedating them with chloroform. Although no kidnapping charges have been filed, police are gathering evidence for a Nov. 11 hearing.

Reeling from the news, Beckham, 28, and her British soccer-star husband, David, 27, immediately began beefing up security on their 24-acre Hertfordshire estate (popularly known as Beckingham Palace), already equipped with electronic gates and 24-hour guards.

The plot against the high-profile couple brought mixed reactions in Hollywood. Lisa Pfalzgraf, president of Santa Monica-based Reming Security, says some of her celebrity clients "added a few more guards." But Anthony Pellicano, who runs a Beverly Hills-based security company with A-list clients, says the plot had no impact on his clients.

A Friend of the Band
And now for the cold, cold facts. Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, who since the summer has been linked to Gwyneth Paltrow, gave Britain's The Sun the lowdown on his relationship with the actress. "I got her number, rang her and asked if she wanted to meet," said Martin, 25. "We met up as friends, and nothing has happened. We had a good time, though." Last August Paltrow attended a concert by the band in New York City. Two months later Martin dedicated the group's song "In My Place" to Paltrow at a Coldplay gig in London. Still, "she's not my girlfriend," said Martin. Paltrow, 30, agrees. Says her rep: "She just recently met him, and they're friends. There's nothing romantic going on between them."

Idol: No Idyll, Not Idle
It was not the best of weeks for TV's American Idol. First, Angie Martinez, the New York City deejay who had just been introduced with great hoopla as Idol's fourth judge, resigned, saying, "It became too uncomfortable for me to tell someone else to give up on their dream." Then the show's Greatest Moments CD dropped from No. 4 to No. 20 on the Billboard charts. And after talk of a spinoff series, tentatively called Second Chance Idol, in which washed-up music stars fight it out for new record contracts and a second chance at chart glory, an official said the plan was just in its infancy. But not all was grim in Idol land: The concert tour continues to do well, selling out about 80 percent of seats in halls and arenas. Says Gary Bongiovanni of trade magazine Pollstar: "For an act that didn't exist a couple of months ago, it's pretty incredible.

CELEB EXCHANGE OF THE WEEK

Larry King and Heather Mills McCartney

KING: Now this is a great toe.
McCARTNEY: Yes, it's beautiful, isn't it?
KING: This is a beaut.... What does a thing like this cost?
McCARTNEY: That costs about $4,000, but the ones in America cost $5,000 to $10,000, and they don't look anywhere as good as that.
KING: Can you give it flat shoes too?
McCARTNEY: Oh yes. That is my high heel. And I have one for Rollerblading, skiing, all that kind of stuff.

POP QUIZ

with Pierce Brosnan

Shaken? Stirred? After a hard day promoting the new James Bond film, Die Another Day (opening Nov. 22), Pierce Brosnan appeared mostly just frazzled when Scoop caught up with him at Manhattan's Time Hotel. After relaxing on a comfortable divan, however, Brosnan, 50, was in the proper mood for a discussion about all things Bond.

What is Bond's appeal to men?

The girls. Having sex with every woman you can possibly have sex with. And drinking. And guns. Cool clothes. A great car. It appeals to every aspect of the male psyche.

Do you think Bond has ever practiced safe sex?

I doubt it. There is not enough time, really.

Is it true Bond gave up smoking?

It looks like it. It ain't groovy anymore.

Will there be any chance Bond will go vegan?

[laughs] Vegan! Oh God. I have to bite my tongue here. I never thought of Bond as a vegan. No. You don't want him to be a vegan.

What is Bond scared of?

Dying. It's the classic fear.

How will he spend his retirement years?

Surrounded by very beautiful women, a good supply of cigars and liquor and a very cool car. I don't think he'll ever die, really.

How does Bond's image affect you? Ever get in bar fights with guys who want to take on Bond?

I haven't had that happen to me yet. They all kind of dig the guy.

Who's cooler: Bond or Remington Steele?

Remington...no! Bond. But I can't diss Remington. He got me into Bond.

The film is filled with promotional tie-ins. Omega watches, Aston Martins, etc. Do you get to keep that stuff?

I get to keep the car. I get to keep the watch. I get to keep the tuxedo. I have a museum at home of watches, tuxedos and cars.

ON THE BLOCK

THE CHAMP'S CAMP

From 1972 through 1981 Muhammad Ali trained in this secluded camp in Deer Lake, Pa., about 70 miles northwest of Philadelphia. Sylvester Stallone, Andy Warhol and Elvis Presley were among the visitors to the 18-building complex, which includes a gym, a horse barn and a mosque. In 1997 Ali sold the site for $115,000 to training partner George Dillman, who turned it into a martial arts center. Dillman is now asking $5 million for the place, throwing in various Ali memorabilia such as the original signed deed.

  • Contributors:
  • Ting Yu,
  • Jennifer Wren,
  • Nina Biddle,
  • Rachel Biermann,
  • Alexis Chiu,
  • Michael Fleeman,
  • Aaron Lovell,
  • Bob Meadows,
  • Pete Norman,
  • Rebecca Paley,
  • Frank Swertlow.