Risk Management

Martha Stewart Denied New Trial

An expert witness for the prosecution was indicted for perjuring himself.
Stephen TaubJuly 9, 2004

Domestic diva Martha Stewart faces sentencing next week after being denied a new trial, according to published reports.

In March, a jury found Stewart guilty of one count of conspiracy, two counts of making false statements, and one count of obstruction of agency proceedings in her trial over a suspicious sale of stock in ImClone Systems Inc., according to Reuters. Her co-defendant and stockbroker, Peter Bacanovic, was found guilty of four of the five counts against him.

Her sentencing was pushed back from June, however, so her lawyers could present arguments for a new trial. The grounds? An expert witness for the prosecution in Stewart’s trial, U.S. Secret Service lab director Larry Stewart (no relation), was indicted for perjuring himself by saying he had conducted certain ink-work tests personally, when they were actually performed by someone else. He has pleaded not guilty.

In a 43-page ruling denying the defense motion, U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum wrote that “there is no reasonable likelihood that this perjury could have affected the jury’s verdict” and that the verdict is supported by “overwhelming independent evidence.” Cedarbaum also denied a hearing on the issue.

Each of the four counts against Martha Stewart carries a possible prison term of five years and a $250,000 fine. According to reports, however, Stewart and Bacanovic are each expected to receive 10 to 16 months in prison.