Prosecutors May Drop Winona Drug Charge

10/09/2002 at 01:00 PM EDT

Winona Ryder may face fewer felony charges when her oft-delayed trial finally begins.

Prosecutors in her shoplifting case said Wednesday they plan to ask the judge to dismiss a charge of illegal possession of a prescription painkiller, Reuters reports.

The Los Angeles District Attorney's office said it was making the request "in the interests of justice" after the actress's lawyers presented a sworn statement from a defense witness saying she had reason to possess several tablets of the drug Oxycodone.

Prosecutors aren't saying who the witness is, but a D.A.'s spokeswoman tells the Associated Press that the sworn statement shows that Ryder did not have "the requisite criminal knowledge" to support a drug charge.

Police found the painkiller on the "Girl, Interrupted" star, 30, when they busted her last December at the Saks Fifth Avenue store in Beverly Hills. She's accused of swiping nearly $6,000 worth of merchandise, and is currently free on $20,000 bail.

Ryder's defense team has insisted all along that the actress had a prescription for the painkillers. She has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges, which include felony grand theft, commercial burglary and vandalism.

Beverly Hills Superior Court Judge Elden Fox is expected to make a decision on the drug charge on Oct. 15, when Ryder is finally due to stand trial.

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