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In the news

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 7, 2002

Ryder will stand trial

Winona Ryder was ordered Thursday to stand trial on charges alleging she shoplifted $6,000 in merchandise from Saks Fifth Avenue and possessed a drug without a prescription.

A store security official testified during a preliminary hearing that she saw the actor cutting security sensor tags off the items. A criminalist testified that two pills found in Ryder's possession were a generic form of Percoset, a prescription painkiller.

Superior Court Judge Elden Fox said there was sufficient cause for her to be tried on charges of second-degree burglary, grand theft, vandalism and possession of a controlled substance.

Thomas to return to air

Sportscaster Chris Thomas will return to delivering reports for WFLA-Ch. 8 on Monday, after a meeting with general manager Eric Land regarding his May 31 arrest on charges of driving under the influence.

WFLA removed Thomas from its broadcasts until the sportscaster could meet Thursday with Land, who had been traveling. Thomas returned to his other job, a two-hour show weekdays on WDAE-AM 620, last Monday.

"I had decided he would return as fast as . . . he felt ready to go back," said Land, who added the incident won't affect WFLA's decision on renewing Thomas' contract, which expires this year.

Kelly released from jail

The charges stem from a videotape purporting to show a sexual tryst between Kelly and an underage girl, the latest legal trouble for the artist already dogged by allegations of sexual misconduct

Kelly, 35, was charged with 21 counts of child pornography Wednesday and later arrested near a house he rents in Davenport, about 35 miles southwest of Orlando. The felony charge carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.

Attorney Ed Genson wouldn't say when Kelly would return to Chicago. Kelly has denied he is the man in the video.

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TV notes

Comedic actor Jill-Michele Melean will join the cast of Fox's Mad TV this fall, marking the first recurring talent deal for a series to emerge from Fox's diversity casting showcases. The deal also means Melean will be the first Hispanic cast member of the sketch show. . . . Teri Bauer really is dead, but pretty much everyone else on 24 will be back next season, Fox Entertainment president Gail Berman tells The story line will happen "sometime in the future," she says, not the next day. . . . The Sci Fi network will present a sneak peak of Steven Spielberg's highly anticipated miniseries Taken tonight. During the second commercial break of the season premieres of Stargate SG-1 at 9 and Farscape at 10, Sci Fi will present a trailer featuring footage that has been kept under wraps. The 20-hour adventure miniseries, which weaves together the stories of three generations of alien encounters, airs in December.

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