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Verdict Reached in Winona Ryder Trial

Aired November 6, 2002 - 14:00   ET


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: We are minutes away from a verdict in the shoplifting trial of Winona Ryder. We'll go live to the courthouse in Beverly Hills, California. Plus, will the Fed cut interest rates? And if they do, what will it mean for you? We're just 15 minutes away from that announcement.
Right now the Dow Jones industrials are down, but only slightly. Stay with us for the latest on those interest rates.

But first, we want to take you now to Paul Clinton. He is standing by outside of that Beverly Hills courtroom. He's been waiting for the verdict, as we all are, and now it should be just minutes away. And we will have a camera in there when it comes down, right -- Paul?

PAUL CLINTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. We do have a camera. In fact, CNN is the pool camera. So when the verdict is read, we will be carrying that live.

Now again, the judge is probably getting the verdict as we speak. They only deliberated for 40 minutes this morning, the six men and six women, and they've come up with a verdict and we're waiting to hear what that is.

Now Winona Ryder has been a major star since 1988 when she starred in "Beetlejuice," followed in '89 by "Heathers." And she's also been in "Age of Innocence," she's been in "Little Women" and she produced "Girl, Interrupted" for which Angelina Jolie won an Academy Award. She's a huge presence here in Hollywood. But -- and it's very doubtful that no matter what the outcome here that it will really affect her career one way or the other.

SAVIDGE: And, Paul, let me ask you this.

CLINTON: The charges against...

SAVIDGE: Yes, I wanted to ask, though, the charges, you're going to go through them, is it possible she does -- if she doesn't get convicted of all three, she could still get convicted of one or the other or is it an all or nothing type deal?

CLINTON: As far as I know, if they're all -- all charges are separate. She could be found guilty or innocent any of the three. The three charges are burglary and grand theft and vandalism. The vandalism stems from the accusation that she was cutting security tags out of items like a Calvin Klein dress, which absolutely ruined them, of course. So there's vandalism charges also. So the charges can be given to her separately. And if convicted on all three, like I said, two years eight months, but that's very doubtful. Probably, if she is found guilty, only a few days and maybe a fine and some counseling.

SAVIDGE: And what is the feeling outside the courthouse there regarding the jury? Yesterday they deliberated five hours, today it's about a half hour and then bingo, the verdict. Were they sort of sleeping on it last night?

CLINTON: I don't know. The -- it's all supposed -- we really don't know. I don't think anybody on that jury, especially with Peter Guber on the jury, wanted to make it look like it was just going to be a fast thing and they could do -- wham it out there like they didn't take it seriously.

They probably wanted to deliberate for a while, look at that tape, that videotape, time and time again. It was very important to what the outcome of the trial is as to her guilt or not. There's a lot that's on that tape, but more important, there's a lot that's not on that tape. And I don't think they wanted to have the illusion that they rushed to justice.

SAVIDGE: Absolutely not. All right, Paul, and we ask you to stand by there.

I want to bring in an old friend, Roger Cossack, legal analyst, joining us on the telephone.

Roger, what do you...


SAVIDGE: ... make of the deliberations? I'm sorry, go ahead. Welcome to the show.

COSSACK: I was going to say hello -- I was going to say hello, Martin. And it's nice to be back.

This is, you know, my old stomping grounds when I practiced law in Los Angeles, and I know this courthouse very, very well. I will tell you what it sounds like, and of course this is just a best estimate. I'll make you a bet that jury had a verdict and had a decision last night and they went home and said, all right, everybody go home and think about it and come back tomorrow morning and if we feel the same way, then we'll announce it.

But this is a serious case. They know they're being watched and they know, you know, who Winona Ryder is. These people, they know who it is. The one red herring is what everybody is talking about is what Peter Guber is doing on that jury.

SAVIDGE: Well what is he doing on that jury? How would you allow that to happen?

COSSACK: You know it's a funny thing when juries are picked. I mean I -- to answer your question directly, the answer is I don't know, Martin. I mean I have no idea. If I was picking that jury for the D.A.'s office, in a million years he wouldn't be sitting on that jury. I would have had him tell me a hundred times how he could have been fair and impartial and I would have thanked and excused him. So the answer is I don't know. But when you pick juries, I mean I've seen juries where defense lawyers end up on the jury and they come back and convict people. You just -- you just don't know.

SAVIDGE: But he is only one person, obviously, of 12.

COSSACK: Right, but you only need...

SAVIDGE: And yet how could...

COSSACK: ... you only need one.

SAVIDGE: Can one person swing -- yes. Can one person sway a jury?

COSSACK: Well, one person can't sway a jury, but one -- well, perhaps one person can or cannot. I mean you know we all saw "12 Angry Men." But, on the other hand, one person can hang a jury. And that's really what the issue is here, whether or not 11 of them is going to -- are going to feel one way, and Peter Guber is going to feel another way.

And of course you know the obvious answer is is that if he hangs this jury 11 to 1 and for guilty and he's the only one that votes for not guilty, one, the criticism of course will come in about what was he doing on that jury in the first place. But second of all, you know he is going to have to answer. I mean people are going to look at him and say look, you just obviously sold out the justice system. Now whether or not you know that bothers anybody, you know, they have to decide themselves.

SAVIDGE: OK, Roger, hang with us on the telephone.

Paul Clinton, I want to bring you back, if you're still with us outside of Beverly Hills there. We were talking the other day about closing arguments. This trial, obviously, very much in the public eye. It sounded by some of the statements by both attorneys that it was reading like a screenplay, almost, with the way they summarized.

CLINTON: Oh, yes, definitely written in Hollywood. This could have been written by David E. Kelly or Dick Wolf. They did -- gotten very dramatic. The prosecution said she came, she stole, she left. And on the other hand, the defense you know was accusing them of trying to put her -- hang her out to dry because she was a celebrity. The defense also implied that Saks Fifth Avenue wanted a conviction because they wanted to make sure they weren't liable for anything down the road.

And it got very, very dramatic in terms of the war of words. And they had charts and graphs and the top 10 list of things not considered in the law, like poor people are not the only ones that steal or it's OK to steal if you pay for some stuff. I mean they got very, very dramatic. It was very Hollywood. This has been Hollywood all the way through. You think back to the beginning of the trial, when she was hit by a camera, on one arm, and then the -- it was a right hand arm, and then the next day she came with a cast on the left arm and that caused a lot of speculation too. So this has been classic Hollywood from the start to go.

SAVIDGE: It has been, absolutely.

Roger Cossack, if you're still on the telephone with us,...


SAVIDGE: ... why do we find these cases so fascinating? I mean this is not a murder here, why are we watching?

COSSACK: Oh, Martin, is there anybody better? Is there any -- is there anything that people enjoy more than watching people fall from grace? I mean here's Winona Ryder, 31 years old, beautiful, talented actress, to the rest of the world looks like she has everything on Earth. Why then would she suddenly go in and be involved in a rather, you know, tawdry affair of shoplifting?

There she is. You know we've seen her so beautiful on cameras, and there she is in that overcoat, you know, stuffing herself with not just you know a loaf of bread and food to sustain herself on, but in fact, you know just brutal or just luxurious items. You know it's just one of those things that we've always been fascinated by and we'll continue to be fascinated by.

SAVIDGE: Well, yes, I'm afraid we will.

Winona, by the way, we're told, is seated in the courtroom right now. So we are...

COSSACK: Marty, I have to say good-bye. I'm at the bureau. I'm going to be coming in to see you personally in just a few moments. So let me say good-bye, and I'll see you, hopefully, on camera in a little while.

SAVIDGE: Roger, I will hang with baited breath. Thank you for joining us.

Paul Clinton, you're still there, can still hear me, I presume. We wait for this verdict to come in. And I'm wondering, we talked about the attorneys. What's at stake, if anything, for the judge? I mean he's in Beverly Hills, he has to oversee what might be considered somewhat of a tawdry case, is there any ramifications for the judge and their involvement in this?

CLINTON: Well he doesn't want to turn into the O.J. judge, that's for sure. And he's been very careful about TV cameras in the courtroom. He's allowing it only for the final verdict that we're going to be hearing shortly.

I don't -- I'm not sure what the ramifications will be for him. I think he's held a very tight case all along. He's been totally in control of the courtroom. He -- Mark Geragos can be very flamboyant, but he's kept things fairly toned down. So I don't think there will be any ramifications for him one way or the other.

The -- but again, getting back to their closing arguments, I mentioned earlier that one of the movies that Winona starred in and produced was "Girl, Interrupted." And the prosecution pointed out that the character in that movie had a line about liking to steal things just to see if she could get away with it. The character in the movie was a very disturbed girl in a mental home. So they -- they've really gotten down and dirty and dragged in everything they possibly can on this -- on this case.

SAVIDGE: Paul, I want to interrupt you and just ask...


SAVIDGE: ... why is it that Winona did not take the stand? Do we know why that decision was made?

CLINTON: Well we -- this is all subjection. What we -- what we have heard is that there was some kind of statement made to Saks Fifth Avenue on the day of the arrest and that that statement was not allowed in to the trial by the judge. And there was worry if...

SAVIDGE: You mean a written statement?

CLINTON: A written statement is what we were told. Now we can't confirm it because we haven't seen it. But the judge -- there was some kind of statement that the judge would not allow in. And this fear was that if she went on the stand that that could be brought in to the trial and that could be part of it.


CLINTON: So that -- it's all conjecture on our part. We have not seen the actual statement, but that's what we're being told.

SAVIDGE: Well do you think that she would have done well on the stand? I mean is there an indication by the way she is in the courtroom that she has been holding up well under all of this?

CLINTON: She seems to be holding up fine. I'm sure she would do great on the stand, she's a wonderful actress. But the problem is if there was any kind of incriminating evidence in terms of a statement that would pretty much scotch everything. I mean you really can't act your way out of that.

But she's been very expressive while she's been in court. She's been following it very closely. Those huge, big eyes of hers just sweeping back and forth as the -- her lawyer and the prosecution have been pacing back and forth in front of the jury.

At one point on closing arguments she said out loud "that's not true" when the prosecutor was talking about how she handed scissors over to the security person at Saks Fifth Avenue. Now she is claiming that she never handed anything over, that they were, in fact, maybe planted on her is what Geragos implied. So at that point, she actually vocally said "that's not true." Mark put his hand on her arm and she was silent.

SAVIDGE: Well tell us about some of the other...


SAVIDGE: ... the key characters in this. We've already talked about the judge, we've talked about the attorneys, certainly have talked about Winona. Who are the other sort of key players in this drama that unfolded in the courtroom as far as testimony?

CLINTON: Well the head witness for the defense backfired on them somewhat, it was an ex-employee of Saks Fifth Avenue who was testifying that the security guard had an axe to grind against Winona, that he was out to get her. And that later came out that this employee was being -- was suing Saks, had been fired from Saks, in fact, was picketing Saks. And when the prosecution asked him if he had an axe to grind against Saks, he said yes. So that did not go over well at all in terms of a defense.

Now in terms of the prosecution, they had a woman that was the former head of security who claims that she saw Winona cutting tags off of clothing through the slats in a dressing room door. And again, that was not seen on camera. And the defense attorney tried to discredit that information. But she was sort of the key witness for the prosecution and this other disgruntled employees was the key witness for the defense, did not go over well.

SAVIDGE: What about Saks Fifth Avenue in all of this, what has their profile been?

CLINTON: Saks has had a very low profile. I mean they did call a couple of salespeople, two or three security people to the stand from Saks, but Saks itself has kept a, you know, very low profile. They are not selling "Free Winona" T-shirts, I can guarantee that.

SAVIDGE: Well we talked about the camera in the courtroom. The judge, you say, has been conservative on this issue but will allow it for the reading of the verdict, is that right? Tell us about how this has gone.

CLINTON: This is -- we put in -- the press put in a request yesterday morning for the verdict to be read live. The judge considered it. He has never let anything, cameras go in, up until now, and he granted the request for whatever reasons he has. But we will be able to see the verdict live. And as I said, CNN is the pool camera so we're right up there right now.

SAVIDGE: And I presume that the media would have made a similar request at the beginning of this whole trial?

CLINTON: It was denied. Yes. The trial -- he did not want to make the same mistake that they made with O.J. and turn this into a circus. And it very easily can be turned into a circus. I was down here at the same courthouse years ago with the Zsa Zsa Gabor trial when she slapped a cop. And that was...

SAVIDGE: Who could forget that?

CLINTON: ... major -- who can -- who can forget that? The highlight of my life. And that was a major circus. And things have calmed down. They've really tightened security up here. They have pool situations. They don't let the press swamp people on the sidewalk. So they've changed the rules around here since some of those early, high profile trials.

SAVIDGE: And how has word spread that the verdict had been reached? I mean how were you informed?

CLINTON: We -- one of our producers is up in the courtroom. And as soon as he heard, he called down to here. But amazingly enough, my cameraman had a BlackBerry, and before we even knew for sure, we -- he was told from a friend in New York that the verdict was out. So this came really fast. I mean everybody seems to know right away.

SAVIDGE: That is Hollywood at its best, isn't it, Paul Clinton? The way that...

CLINTON: The grapevine goes in both ways.

SAVIDGE: It does. It does.

The way this trial has progressed, were you surprised that we had a verdict or at lease an announcement of a verdict at the beginning of the second day of deliberation? I mean did you think it might go longer now it's already taken this long?

CLINTON: Well the common wisdom was the longer it took the more likely of acquittal. And the fact that it did come in the beginning of the second day, the second full day, was -- it looks like, you know again, conventional wisdom, that it's a guilty verdict. So it doesn't surprise anybody. Everyone was predicting basically one or two days for the verdict to come in. And, in fact, it's been one-and-a-half days.

Now whether the conjection about guilty or innocence or the length of time is true or not, who knows? It's, you know, old wives' tales. But juries always surprise you, you can never really tell for sure.

SAVIDGE: And now when this verdict is read, is it the judge that will read it, is it a foreman from the jury or how do we expect this to go down?

CLINTON: Well the foreman will hand the judge the verdict. The judge will read the verdict. And then at a later time, he will give his sentence.

SAVIDGE: So you're saying that we will not necessarily know, if she is found guilty, what the sentence is today in this courtroom?

CLINTON: We don't know for a fact. We can -- we may find out what the verdict is, he may do it right away or he could wait. It could come later today. It could come on another day.

My feeling would be they would want to get this over with as soon as possible, wrap this up and get onto their next case, which is a lot lower profile I'm sure. So I think the verdict and the sentence will come fairly quickly.

SAVIDGE: And why is it, I mean you live out in that part of the world, that this is not going to harm her career if it were a guilty verdict?

CLINTON: No, it's not going to hurt her career at all. Hollywood's very, very forgiving, especially of a crime like this. I mean, murder, maybe, would hurt her career. The only thing that will hurt her career is bad box office. And she has that recently with "Autumn in New York." "Mr. Deeds" was a hit, but it was an Adam Sandler hit. "Simone" was a failure. As I said, Adam -- "Autumn in New York" with Richard Gere was a real bomb. So her career right now is sort of in a low point. But we have also been told, reportedly, that she is getting more scripts now than she did before the trial. So she's getting a lot of free press, good, bad, or indifferent, they're spelling her name right.

SAVIDGE: Yes, well that's what they say, just spell it right.

We're looking in the background, I can see more media gathering there. What has this been like, the media, compared to other celebrity trials you've covered in the past?

CLINTON: Well this is about -- this is about a medium coverage, I guess. It, of course, is nothing compared to O.J. That's the celebrity trial of all time. But this is about a medium amount of interest. We have some foreign crews, not many, some people from Asia and Japan, a couple of European crews. So it's about -- I would say it's average to below average in terms of media interest in terms of the outlets that are here. Of course all of the major networks are here, so it is going out nationwide everywhere.

SAVIDGE: Yes, and soon it'll be worldwide.

All right, Paul, stand by there. We'll be waiting for the verdict.

I want to bring in Roger Cossack. I can look at him now, which is always a great benefit.

Roger, nice to see you, thank you very much for joining us on the program.

COSSACK: Always a pleasure -- Martin.

SAVIDGE: We are saying that even if she is found guilty, it is doubtful that she'll spend any serious time. We'll wait and see on that.

COSSACK: Well it all depends what you define as serious. You know some would say one day is pretty serious time. But I agree, I understand what you're saying. And I -- it would be hard to believe, look, she has a spotless record. What this is is a major shoplifting trial. They call it -- what they call it, but it's shoplifting is what it is. It would be hard to believe that she would end up with anything other than a great deal of, of course, making restitution, a fine, and then perhaps some kind of a management -- impulse management class and a lot of probation.

SAVIDGE: Yes. Well say this was an average person who got caught with shoplifting $5,500 worth of merchandise from Saks Fifth Avenue, clearly we wouldn't know about the case, at least we wouldn't be covering it.


SAVIDGE: But as far as punishment, I mean aren't people going to say well wait a minute, you know she's a star, she gets off easy if found guilty and the other poor person does not?

COSSACK: Yes. You know what the answer to that is, and here's -- and here's something that we just don't know, in most cases like this, they wouldn't have ended up going to trial. In most cases like this, some kind of a negotiated plea settlement would have been made, maybe even a plea to a misdemeanor. People who shoplift usually do it on impulses for many strange reasons. It's hard to believe that Winona's having financial problems. But whatever her reasons are, they usually are impulse actions and usually they're negotiated out. So in some ways she is paying a price for being a celebrity.

Will her sentence be any less than any other first-time offender with a spotless record? No, I don't think it will be, nor do I think it should be any harsher.

SAVIDGE: Why do you think there was no negotiated settlement? I mean Saks Fifth Avenue doesn't want to have this publicity. You would think Winona doesn't, although from what I hear now the scripts are pouring in. Why no settlement?

COSSACK: You know it's hard to say why people won't settle cases. Oftentimes clients or defendants in cases just get it through their head that they just didn't do this, that this was all a big mistake. I've often described it as the battle between the reality and the memory, reality says this is what happened but the memory says, gee, I don't remember this happening and somehow they convince themselves that they just couldn't have done something as horrible as what they're charged of.

It's embarrassing, it's humiliating, it's something that they never could have done. And so when it comes time to say I'm guilty of something, those words just don't come out of their mouth. And you know as time progresses on and trial dates are set and lawyers are involved, suddenly you're in the midst of a trial.

SAVIDGE: Did you -- from what you know of this case, did you think that the evidence was pretty overwhelming against her?

COSSACK: Well, from what I know of the case, obviously not being there and seeing it presented everyday and you know seeing what happened and the...

SAVIDGE: Exactly.

COSSACK: ... nuances of the testimony, it seemed like it was a fairly strong case. Look, let's not kid ourselves, here's Winona Ryder in her overcoat seemingly stuffing things under the overcoat. I mean the answer is, you know if you were doing that, why were you doing that and walked outside. And you had testimony that said that they clipped tags off of things and somebody said they saw her clipping tags off of things, you know you either believe those people or you don't.

SAVIDGE: So as the defense attorney, what's your strategy? How do you try to combat what seems to be a losing case for you?

COSSACK: Well, the first thing you do is you put Peter Guber on the jury and then you...

SAVIDGE: And that worked.

COSSACK: ... then -- yes, then you go home and you go to whatever place you pray in and you thank whoever you thank. But, I mean, you know, there's not a lot of defense.

Look, there's a phrase among lawyers that's called a slow plea. A slow plea means that you down deep in your heart know that your client is going to be found guilty, but you take it in front of a jury and hope that perhaps somebody believes or there's reasonable doubt or someone falls in love with your client. You know Winona is a -- is a -- is a person who's -- was quite popular, who is quite popular, perhaps there is you know some or one or two on that jury who just says you know what, I don't want to convict this person. You hope for the best. Look, that videotape is pretty damning.


COSSACK: And you know you can't deny it.

Now let me also say that, as you know, I have a history in this place of always sort of predicting the wrong outcome on how these -- how these trials come out, so you've got to take me with a grain of salt, and no one ever knows what a jury is going to do.

SAVIDGE: All right, Roger, you know what, we're going to take a break. We're all going to take a breather right now. We're still waiting for the verdict to come in. Hang in there with us, please. We'll get back to you.

COSSACK: Thank you.

SAVIDGE: We will have more on the Winona Ryder case coming up and the verdict that's expected momentarily. Plus, don't forget, the Fed expected to cut interest rates, another cliffhanger there. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) SAVIDGE: Welcome back. You thought today was only going to be election results day. No, Winona Ryder, the verdict is in in that case. We are waiting to here it live coming from the courtroom just about any moment. We are told that the actress herself is inside the courtroom and she is seated in there with her attorney. But right now the speculation is which way is it going to go, is it guilty, is it innocent?

We want to bring in Harvey Levin with "Celebrity Justice." He's also an attorney.

Thank you, sir, for joining us. And...


SAVIDGE: ... you got an opinion? Which way do you think it's going to go?

LEVIN: Well, you know, I have covered so many trials in Southern California. And after O.J. Simpson, Menendez and Rodney King, I don't guess on verdicts in this town anymore.

But I will tell you something that we found out yesterday, the foreman of this jury is an aerospace engineer. And get this, he's -- he has sat on two civil trials and three criminal trials before. So this is a guy who I'm sure is used to methodically going through evidence. That's why I think it took a little bit longer than we all expected, but there was a lot of evidence. And my guess is that's exactly what happened in the jury room over the last day and a half.

SAVIDGE: Well that's interesting because somebody would probably say hey, it ain't rocket science, and yet he'd say, oh, I might know something about rocket science.

LEVIN: There you go. That -- that's very funny. Very good.

SAVIDGE: Well let's talk about the other makeup in this -- in this jury. I mean how this jury got seated with what is a man said to be a very good friend of hers seems remarkable to me.

LEVIN: It seemed remarkable to me, too. And the more I thought about it, the more I thought, wow, you know what, the prosecution may have really done something that was extremely clever here. I mean this person, who we cannot name right now because of the judge's order, this is a pretty big person in Hollywood. And you have to realize that if this person just becomes a holdout for the sake of holding out or for the sake of friendship, I think that person is going to be the subject of scorn and ridicule. So if the evidence is there to convict her, at least among the other 11, and this person should follow that lead and only can explain he didn't because of friendship, I think that's a tough argument to make in public. So in some ways, I think there's a lot of pressure on him to, if you will, do the right thing.

SAVIDGE: Well, and the defense attorney, what is -- shouldn't they have said hey, wait a minute, I object? No, no thanks.

LEVIN: Well you know on the surface, Martin, I had exactly the same reaction that you did. And maybe Mark Geragos had the same reaction as well, which is wow, get somebody who did movies with her, who knows her, who likes her, and you know on the surface it would seem that's a pretty good juror in my book. And yet if you really look at the pressures, maybe it works the other way as well.

I can tell you that this juror has really been involved in the case, taking copious notes, has had facial expressions. It's not somebody who is just sitting there for the cache of being a juror in the Winona Ryder case. He's really involved in it.

SAVIDGE: OK, I want to run through, if we can take a look at some of the counts, just so that people understand what she was actually up against. Count one, second degree commercial burglary. Is that aka, also known as, shoplifting? Is that it there?

LEVIN: Well this is all, aka, shoplifting. This is a case where she allegedly took more than $5,000 worth of merchandise out of the store, and that's classically called shoplifting. But when you break it down, what the D.A. is saying is that she went into the store with the intent to steal and indeed stole, at least according to them, and they say that constitutes a classic commercial burglary. So that -- therefore the burglary count.

SAVIDGE: OK. Count two, grand theft of personal property. I've heard of grand theft auto, but personal property, what was that?

LEVIN: Well if -- in California, as well as in many states, if you steal more than a certain amount of money, it's either $400 or $450 in California, then it becomes a felony grand theft. If it's below that, it's a misdemeanor. But clearly the allegation here is way more than $450,...


LEVIN: ... so therefore grand theft.

SAVIDGE: Yes. And then last, I want to bring in Roger on this one. The last one is vandalism, which apparently is what you get charged with when you allegedly cut up some very fine -- some fine stuff from Saks. Is that what -- is that what this is?

COSSACK: That's pretty much what it is. You know we all know what vandalism is, it's usually something that kids do after the football game. But in this case what they're charging her with doing is taking the scissors, which she possessed, and cutting up some of that merchandise to get rid of the -- to get rid of the price tags.

You know Harvey's right when he says -- when he describes this as a -- as a shoplifting. As I said earlier, it's the amount of money or the amount of money that Saks Fifth Avenue charges for these goods which gets it into the felony range.

But I want to say, to touch back on something we said earlier, Marty, you know the price that Winona pays for this, and I -- this is not in any way to mitigate what she has allegedly done, and we'll find out if the jury convicts her, is the price of being a celebrity. I think many, many people in most cases like this would get to plead, particularly the first time, to a misdemeanor, petty theft, 484 of the penal code, if I still remember my numbers, and you know, pay a fine and go home and get pretty much the same sentence that she got now. Perhaps one of the reasons there's a trial in this case is they wouldn't break it down, which I would say most times, and I'm talking about in the 90 percent region, they will break this down from a felony to a misdemeanor.

LEVIN: And, Roger, if I may, I completely agree with that. But there is something additional here. She was charged -- she was charged in a way that no other shoplifter was in the cases...


LEVIN: ... that we looked at over the last year, no doubt about it. But Steve Cooley, who is the district attorney of Los Angeles, ran in part on the prior district attorney being -- quote -- "soft on celebrities." And this district attorney, you could argue, wants to send out a message and the message may not just be to Winona Ryder, but the message may be a general one to celebrities that they may be treated more harshly, they may have...


LEVIN: ... the book thrown at them because of the political posture here.

COSSACK: And you know, Harvey, that's not a really good thing to have happen. Because you -- as you -- you're a lawyer and I'm a lawyer and we all know that that statue of justice has a blindfold over it -- over her and it's supposed to be blind. And it's not supposed to be celebrities pay more than non-celebrities.

Look, this is a case, as you and I have talked, and you know Harvey and I have known each other for a lot of years, you know and I know this is a case that ends up as a misdemeanor, you go home, pay your fine, you don't do it anymore.

LEVIN: Well you know...

COSSACK: Maybe because of Winona Ryder you pay or you're paying a heavier price.

LEVIN: And you know there were some cases where big ticket items were stolen from Beverly Hills stores, and we did see one or two felonies. We never saw three felonies, and we looked through over 5,000 cases. So no doubt she had the book thrown at her. And my guess is if she were Winona Smith, it wouldn't happen.

COSSACK: Yes. Yes.

SAVIDGE: Well, and if it was Wal-Mart, I think we wouldn't have heard too much about this either. I mean the fact that it was Saks Fifth Avenue, it only takes you a couple of items to get up into felony range. If it was Wal-Mart, it'd probably take you all day. I mean -- so part of it is not just who was involved as the actress, but who was apparently involved as being the victim here, which being Saks Fifth Avenue of Beverly Hills.

LEVIN: The very first thing the D.A. spokeswoman, Sandy Givens (ph), said was, hey, it's not like she stole a pair of socks from Target. And she meant what she said. It's true, I mean there is a cut-off point for what constitutes petty theft and what constitutes grand theft. And you know you steal one or two items at Saks Fifth Avenue and you're a grand thief and you can steal a whole shopping cart full at Target and may not be the case.

SAVIDGE: Yes. Yes.

COSSACK: Well, I mean, and maybe this flies in the face of that adage you never steal anything small or perhaps this is the adage that you steal from Target. Or I mean I don't know what the adage is here. But I can truthfully tell you that in all of my experience in Los Angeles for many, many years, and I know Harvey's had an equal amount of experience, this is a highly unusual charge for something that really is, you know, not inconsequential, but really is a shoplifting charge.

SAVIDGE: Well let me ask you both while I've got you here, when you heard closing arguments, when you watched this trial progress, Harvey, was there any gaffes that you heard on the part of either side that you go oh, well, that went over badly?

LEVIN: Well I mean the big gaffe for the prosecution was they misstated what was on this surveillance tape. "Celebrity Justice Extra" aired this tape many months ago and when we made it clear that you can't see her cutting the tags off, as was alleged by the police and the D.A., that was a mistake. Now the question was is this a critical mistake, does it show a conspiracy? I mean that was their big mistake.

On the other side, I mean they did have people who supposedly were eyewitnesses. Colleen Rainey, who said she was looking through the slats of the dressing room door, saw Winona Ryder crouch down, bandaging her thumb, which she had cut, saw her cutting the sensor tags, this is according to her testimony, and that's pretty compelling evidence.

Also, you have these eyewitnesses talking about Winona Ryder saying hey, I did it for a movie role. And I have a feeling that could be a pretty powerful statement for a jury.

If I may, one other thing that you didn't hear, and that is that Winona Ryder signed a written confession while she was in the detention room saying I, Winona Ryder, stole these items; but the judge wouldn't let it in because she wasn't advised of her rights.

SAVIDGE: Which is why she probably didn't take the witness stand because then that would have been fair game to ask about, right?

LEVIN: Absolutely.


COSSACK: Absolutely.

SAVIDGE: Yes. OK, well...

COSSACK: And that's -- and that explains a whole lot of things about why Winona Ryder didn't. I mean you -- I mean one of the things you would -- you would think that someone like Winona Ryder, who's just -- who exhibits that sort of look of sympathy, if you will, would have been a great witness. And this explains why Winona Ryder couldn't get near that witness stand.

SAVIDGE: All right.


SAVIDGE: Both of you stay right there. We're going to take a break for a moment.

Those of you at home waiting on the verdict, stay right there as well. We are anticipating it's coming down any moment, and we will bring it to you live from the courtroom when it's read.

Don't go anywhere. Stay here.


SAVIDGE: Welcome back to LIVE FROM. I'm Martin Savidge.

We have dubbed this hour waiting on Winona again. And we are, this time, waiting on the verdict in the Winona Ryder trial. A verdict has been reached. We understand that Winona and her attorney both in the courtroom. The groundwork is set for the dramatic conclusion, including the allowance now by the judge of cameras in the courtroom, so you will hear the verdict live right here on CNN.

We've been getting the opinions of Harvey Levin, of also Roger Cossack, legal analysts. We want to bring in now CNN's Paul Clinton. He is outside that courthouse in Beverly Hills.

Paul, we always like to talk about the color in these particular cases, and there has been plenty of that, including, well, what you brought us earlier, which is interesting, the fashion report. People monitoring what she wears when she walks in every day.

CLINTON: Yes, it is. It's like a Hollywood event. I mean it's almost surreal. It's -- we mentioned earlier, it could have been written by David E. Kelley or Dick Wolf, who created, of course, "L.A. Law."

The -- during the closing -- during the defense closing arguments, actually not...

SAVIDGE: You know what, we're going to interrupt you, Paul. Take you to the courtroom right now. There's the judge. Let's listen.

CLINTON: OK. All right.


JUDGE ELDEN FOX, L.A. SUPERIOR COURT: In this matter the court has been advised and has received a sealed verdict submitted by the jury in this matter. It is the court's intention to have the jurors brought out.

Are the alternates here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, they are -- your honor.


I'll ask the jurors and alternates to be brought into the courtroom for purposes of reading verdicts in this matter.

I want to indicate to those of you in the audience, I've indicated before and for purposes of these proceedings today I permitted a camera and still photography. I do not want any reactions in the audience. I don't want any yelling. And I don't want any comments made out loud. I will hold you in contempt if you do that. I expect this to be proceedings done in a dignified manner. And the fact that you are here is part of this process, but I expect some respect shown to the court, to the parties involved in this matter.

Bring the jurors out.

SAVIDGE: All right, as you gaze upon the ceiling of the courtroom, we are awaiting the verdict in the Winona Ryder case. You can see her there. She's blocked partially by her attorney.

You just heard an admonishment from Judge Elden Fox saying that yes, he's allowed a camera in for this moment, but he warns that there should be no reaction from those that are seated in the spectator area. Well what kind of reaction, we don't know, whether it's whoops of joy or sounds of sadness. But we are bracing for, obviously, some sort of verdict. She faces a possibility of up to three years in jail. No one expects that is going to be the verdict for this 31- year-old actress.

We are waiting now for the jury to be brought in as well as the alternates. And this is going to be the climactic moment of what has been a trial that's gone on for about a little over 10 days now and garnered a great deal of attention. Six men, six women, one of those men of the jury said to be a very good friend of the actress. That's been a cause of a lot of contention, a lot of speculation as to how he even made it on to the jury. But he's there, nonetheless, and we are told there's a verdict. And now we simply wait to hear what that verdict is.

Roger, it's got to be a tense time if you are the defense attorney right now?

COSSACK: Or even the prosecutor, because you know you're being watched by the country and this is a high publicity case. This is the kind of a case that makes lawyers' careers. We all know Mark Geragos for his many appearances on Larry King's show. And this is a prosecutor, that, if she wins this case, will be interviewed and perhaps some day is thinking about her own future.

And let's not forget the defendant in this case. I mean we've heard various different kinds of thoughts about how this will affect her career in Hollywood. Hollywood is a forgiving place; but nevertheless, you know, Winona Ryder, I think, has always kind of specialized in these sort of wide-eyed innocence roles, and perhaps she won't be thought of that way anymore.

This is a tough time for all parties concerned. And it's -- you know and it's not -- let me tell you something else, it's not an easy time for the jury either. Whatever they're doing, and particularly if they're convicting, you know people don't like this. This wasn't a violent crime. No one got hurt. This is obviously a young woman who, if they convict her, did something that's highly out of character for her. And they know that they're giving her a felony conviction.

SAVIDGE: They are rising. Let's listen.

FOX: OK, we're back on the record in the matter of people versus Winona Ryder. Case number SA044291.

Again, Miss Ryder is present with her counsel, people are represented and the jurors and alternates are present in their respective seats.

Court having received verdicts from the jury in this matter, those verdicts having been sealed. The court will request the verdicts to be returned to the foreperson in this matter. And I will ask that the foreperson review those verdict forms to ensure that they are the same verdicts as submitted to the court in this matter.

JURY FOREPERSON: Yes, they are.

FOX: OK. If you could replace them in the envelope and hand them back to the bailiff, I would appreciate that.

OK, where are the unsigned verdict forms?

JURY FOREPERSON: In the jury room.

FOX: OK, can I have foreperson go back with the bailiff and get the unsigned verdict forms please? You can go around this way.

SAVIDGE: Harvey, what are they doing here? What's happening as far as the judge being so particular about these forms?

LEVIN: Well, these are -- this is where the money is on these jury verdict forms. And the judge has to make sure that absolutely everything is in order to the point where the foreman has to review all of these jury forms to make sure that it's exactly what they did. I mean it's obvious that they didn't mix it up with the court next door, but this is whole -- this is part of the tradition and the process in a courtroom that you -- this is sacrosanct and it has to be done exactly right. The judge is appropriately taking no chances and that's why the delay.

SAVIDGE: And, Roger, do they know how each juror votes in this particular case?

Well let's listen. I'm sorry.

COSSACK: All right.

FOX: OK. I'll ask the parties to remain seated. I'll ask the clerk to read the verdicts in this matter.

CLERK: Superior Court of the state of California, for the county of Los Angeles, West District, Beverly Hills branch. People of the state of California versus Winona Ryder. Case number SA044291.

We, the jury, in the above entitled action, find the defendant, Winona Ryder, not guilty of the crime of second degree commercial burglary in violation of penal code section 459, a felony as charged in count one of the information. Dated November 6, signed juror No. 10, foreperson.

We, the jury, find the defendant, Winona Ryder, guilty of the crime of vandalism, over $400 in damage, in violation of penal code section 549(a), a felony as charged in count three of the information. Dated September 6 -- I'm sorry, November 6, juror No. 10, foreperson.

We, the jury, find the defendant, Winona Ryder, (INAUDIBLE) in violation of penal code section 487(a), a felony as charged in count two of the information. Dated November 6, signed juror No. 10, foreperson.

FOX: OK. The verdicts having read by -- being read by the clerk of the court in regard to the verdicts as read in this matter, not necessarily in the order read, but in any event, as to the foreperson, do they reflect the verdicts as submitted by the jury in this matter?



Mr. Geragos, did you want the jury polled in this case?


FOX: OK, ladies and gentlemen, it is my responsibility to ask each of you individually whether the verdicts as read by the clerk in this matter are, in fact, your personal verdict in this case. I will do that as to counts one, two and three. Count one being the burglary charge, count two being the grand theft charge and count three being the vandalism charge. I need you to answer either yes or no. I'm going to refer you to -- refer to you by your juror seat or identification rather than your names, since at this point, once we've concluded these proceedings, I do intend to redact all reference to jurors' names in this matter. So please excuse the impersonality in terms of this.

As to juror No. 1, as to count one, is that your verdict?

JUROR NO. 1: Yes, it is.

FOX: As to count two?

JUROR NO. 1: Yes, it is.

FOX: And as to count three?

JUROR NO. 1: Yes, it is.

FOX: Juror No. 2, as to count one?

JUROR NO. 2: Yes, it is.

FOX: As to count 2?

JUROR NO. 2: Yes, it is.

FOX: And as to count three?

JUROR NO. 2: Yes, it is.

FOX: As to count -- as to juror No. 3, count one?

JUROR NO. 3: Yes, it is.

FOX: Count two?

JUROR NO. 3: Yes, it is.

FOX: Count three?

JUROR NO. 3: Yes.

FOX: And juror No. 4, as to count one?

JUROR NO. 4: Yes, it is.

FOX: As to count two?

JUROR NO. 4: Yes, it is.

FOX: As to count three?

JUROR NO. 4: Yes.

FOX: And juror No. 5, as to count one?

JUROR NO. 5: Yes.

FOX: Count two?

JUROR NO. 5: Yes.

FOX: And count three?

JUROR NO. 5: Yes.

FOX: And juror No. 6, as to count one?

JUROR NO. 6: Yes.

FOX: Count two?

JUROR NO. 6: Yes.

FOX: And count three?

JUROR, NO. 6: Yes.

FOX: Juror No. 7, as to count one?

JUROR NO. 7: Yes.

FOX: Count two?

JUROR NO. 7: Yes.

FOX: And count three?

JUROR NO. 7: Yes.

FOX: And juror No. 8, as to count one?

JUROR NO. 8: Yes.

FOX: Count two?

JUROR NO. 8: Yes.

FOX: And count three?

JUROR NO. 8: Yes.

FOX: And juror No. 9, as to count one?

JUROR NO. 9: Yes.

FOX: Count two?

JUROR NO. 9: Yes.

FOX: And count three?

JUROR NO. 9: Yes.

FOX: And juror No. 10, as to count one? JUROR NO. 10: Yes.

FOX: Count two?

JUROR NO. 10: Yes.

FOX: Count three?

JUROR NO. 10: Yes.

FOX: And juror No. 11, as to count one?

JUROR NO. 11: Yes.

FOX: Count two?

JUROR NO. 11: Yes.

FOX: And as to count three?

JUROR NO. 11: Yes.

FOX: And juror No. 12, as to count one?

JUROR NO. 12: Yes.

FOX: Count two?

JUROR NO. 12: Yes.

FOX: And as to count three?

JUROR NO. 12: Yes.

FOX: OK, in this matter, the jury, having been polled, all answered in the affirmative as to the charged counts in this matter and the findings of the jury, the court will now order that the clerk record the verdicts as read in this matter.

In this matter, ladies and gentlemen, that is going to conclude your service in regard to this case. On behalf of the court and on behalf of counsel in this matter, I do want to thank each of you personally for your participation, your conscientiousness, and also the imposition that I know it's caused on everyone's lives in terms of being a part of this process. I do want you all to understand that your participation in this process is absolutely integral to the integrity of this process.

And I don't mean to be overly complimentary, but I will tell you that in terms of the criminal justice process, the product of this process is only going to be as good as those that are willing to serve in this case. And I do appreciate, on behalf of the court and counsel, the fact that all of you have been here when you were supposed to be and to have participated in this process in an exemplary manner under some very difficult circumstances. I do want to explain to you, also, that although this court has allowed cameras in the courtroom today for purposes of the verdicts, there will be no photographs, there will be no display of any of the jurors in terms of anything that is being photographed today, and that is pursuant to the rules of court.

I do want to also explain to you that it is the court's intention, pursuant to Superior Court rules, that at this point I am going to be sealing all juror identification information by order of this court. If there is any request or attempt to unseal or gather any personal information about the jurors, you will be notified personally by the Los Angeles Superior Court. And you do have the right, individually, to object to the release of any such information relating to your service and/or any information that may be contained in your juror application and/or summons forms.

In addition in this matter, I am obligated to advise you, also, that for a period of 90 days from today's date you are prohibited from engaging in any contact or conduct in which you would receive remuneration, which relates to your participation as a juror in this case. Which means you may not, for compensation, write any articles, you may not appear on any type of interview and/or television or radio show, essentially, Jerry Springer and Oprah Winfrey are off limits for three months. But in seriousness, no, you cannot receive compensation related to this matter, particularly as it relates to your service and involvement in this case.

Now I have admonished each of you throughout that you did have an obligation not to communicate with anyone on any subject matter connected with this case. Once I officially discharge you in this matter, that admonition no longer has application. But I do want to explain to you that you do have the right to speak to anyone that you want to and you also have the right to refuse to discuss this matter with anyone you choose not to discuss the matter with.

Once we've completed these proceedings today, the jury supervisor is going to conduct your release in terms of obtaining your juror identification numbers and processing this matter so that you will receive your very large checks, which relate to your service in this matter.

And in addition, if you choose to, you will have the ability to be escorted so that you can leave the courthouse without any interference and/or interruption. I've advised the bailiffs that that particular service will be made available to you. If that is an issue, please let the bailiff know and we will make sure that that doesn't become a problem for any of you.

Again, thank you on behalf of the court. You are officially discharged in this matter. Leave your notebooks and pens in the chair. If there are any notes, anything that you want to retain, you may tear them out; otherwise, they will be destroyed by the bailiff, if they're left in the notebook.

In addition, there are some matters that the bailiff said that she has copied for you, and they will be distributed to each of the jurors at your request.

Thank you very much.

SAVIDGE: You've been listening to Judge Elden Fox there. He is finishing up his final duties with the jury there. Very serious in his tenor, but he obviously has a sense of humor saying that he would not like to see them showing up on Oprah or Jerry Springer and also mentioning they can collect their large checks, which, if anybody's been on jury duty, knows the checks are anything but large. They're lucky to cover parking and a sandwich.

But the important issue here is that for Winona Ryder the verdict is not guilty on count one, second degree commercial burglary; guilty, grand theft of personal property and guilty of vandalism. We're still waiting to hear the issue of sentencing in those particular verdicts.

Roger, explain to me why this makes sense.

COSSACK: You know -- you know, Marty, this does make sense. I'll tell you why. Burglary, as defined -- you know we think of burglary as somebody who goes in and steals something. But the definition of burglary in -- commercial burglary is the entering into a store, like Saks Fifth Avenue, with the intent to commit a felony.

Perhaps, Marty, do you want to listen to the judge right now for a moment...

SAVIDGE: Yes, let's do that -- Roger.

COSSACK: ... and then we'll go ahead? Yes, all right, let me take a break for a second.

FOX: OK. In regard to this matter, it would be the court's intention to put this matter over for sentencing to allow counsel the opportunity to prepare any motions or any other requests of the court. I've discussed this informally with counsel in chambers, in regard to a date, if necessary, in this matter. Have counsel communicated at all as to a date available to both?

ANN RUNDLE, PROSECUTOR: We think it's best the first week in December.

GERAGOS: That's correct.

FOX: OK, is there any particular date that both counsels want to agree on?

GERAGOS: The 6th is fine with me.

FOX: OK, that's a Friday?


FOX: OK, this matter will then will be continued for probation and sentence to the date of December 6, 2002. That will be in this courtroom, that's division one, at 8:30, no time waiver is required at this point, for purposes of the proceedings today, pursuant to 1272 of the penal code.

The court does find that there is bond posted by Miss Ryder. The court also makes the following findings to ensure the continuation of the bond. The court does not find that Miss Ryder is a flight risk in this matter, nor a danger or threat to the community, and she has and will make all her appearances in this matter; therefore, it is appropriate to leave the bond in effect. She's ordered to return on that date with her counsel. She's excused until then.

GERAGOS: Thank you.


GERAGOS: Is there a -- is there a note from the jury?

FOX: No.


SAVIDGE: OK, it pretty much has come to an end. You find out that sentencing is going to take place, not in this courtroom, but it is going to take place on December 6.

Roger, I interrupted you, actually, the judge did, when you were talking about why this particular ruling makes sense. And I guess we should reiterate not guilty, commercial burglary;...


SAVIDGE: ... guilty of grand theft; guilty of vandalism, is that correct?

COSSACK: OK. Yes. Let me explain this. Burglary means the entering of a commercial dwelling, in this -- in this case Saks Fifth Avenue. And when you enter, the law says you had the intent to commit a felony. The stealing of over $5,000 worth of goods. Each element of every crime must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

What this jury said was you know we -- we're not sure, we're not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that when she entered Saks Fifth Avenue she had the intent to commit a felony. We're not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt. But we -- what we are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt of is that she did steal $5,000 worth of jewelry, hence the conviction of grand theft, and that she did commit vandalism in there.

Now one could argue, look, if she didn't have the intent to commit a felony, why did she walk in there with the scissors? But nevertheless, it's a felony that must be committed. They have to prove that she intended to commit a felony, not a misdemeanor. This jury actually came up with a pretty careful verdict. They were convinced that she took the merchandise, they just weren't convinced that she had the -- that the people had proven beyond a reasonable doubt that she had the intent when she entered the store.

SAVIDGE: And when it comes down to punishment for this, do you think that she will go to jail, she will not?

COSSACK: No, I -- well look, this case has been somewhat surprising. You know as -- earlier, as Harvey and I spoke about the fact that it was tried as a felony rather than a misdemeanor and that some kind of plea disposition wasn't worked out in this case.

Do I think that this is a case in which she's going to go to jail? I would be highly surprised. But if, in fact, Harvey is right that the district attorney intends to make an example out of people like this, then you might hear the district attorney ask the judge for some small amount of jail time, 30 days, 45 days, something like that. But I would be highly surprised if the judge gives it in this case to a woman with a spotless record, who's never been in trouble before in her life. There clearly was a problem here about why she did it.

SAVIDGE: All right.

COSSACK: It'd be really shocking.

SAVIDGE: Got to leave it there, Roger, great to see you.

COSSACK: OK, good to see you.

SAVIDGE: Thanks for joining us today on LIVE FROM.

There's going to be a lot more about the Winona Ryder verdict coming up next on LIVE FROM with Arthel Neville.

Also, the Fed did cut interest rates by a half a point, and be standing by for a news conference updating us on the sniper case.

A lot to come still ahead on CNN. Thanks for being with us.


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