June 05, 2003 11:09 AM

“Will & Grace” actress Shelley Morrison, who plays Karen’s wisecracking maid Rosario on the NBC sitcom, pleaded no contest Wednesday to shoplifting about $450 worth of jewelry from a Los Angeles department store in April, reports Reuters.

Morrison, 66, was sentenced to one year’s probation and fined $300 for misdemeanor petty theft from a Los Angeles Robinsons-May.

A $400 theft constitutes a felony, though in an earlier court hearing the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor, because the amount was barely over $400 and this was Morrison’s first brush with the law.

Morrison’s lawyer chalked up the incident to a simple mistake.

“Ms. Morrison ‘fessed up to that mistake, and now she wishes to move forward,” said attorney Donald Etra. “I think Ms. Morrison has certainly learned from this experience. She will never find herself in this situation again.”

In a statement read by Etra in court, Morrison thanked her family and friends for their support during her ordeal, saying they had been “a vital piece of my healing process.” She added that she was looking forward to resuming work on the next season of the NBC sitcom. (For its part, NBC has made no comment about Morrison’s arrest.)

Of course, the low-key manner in which Morrison’s case was handled is in stark contrast to the case of Winona Ryder.

Last year, the “Girl, Interrupted” actress, 31, was found guilty of shoplifting $6,000 in merchandise from Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills and was sentenced to three years probation, 480 hours of community service and was ordered to undergo psychological and drug counseling.

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