News Article

Ink-Stained

Judge rules against new trial for Martha. Despite controversy over an indicted witness, the homemaking guru will be sentenced July 16 as scheduled

Looks like Martha Stewart will learn her fate next week after all. Her motion for a retrial, on the grounds that one of the prosecution witnesses against her has since been charged with perjuring his testimony, has been denied, the Associated Press reports. Both Stewart and her co-defendant, stockbroker Peter Bacanovic, will be sentenced as scheduled on July 16, when both are likely to be ordered to serve 10 to 16 months behind bars.

Stewart attorney Robert Morvillo had petitioned for a retrial after federal prosecutors charged Secret Service lab director Larry Stewart (no relation to the kitchen mogul) with lying repeatedly on the stand when he said he'd taken part in investigating a stock worksheet that was a key piece of evidence against Stewart and Bacanovic. (Larry Stewart has pleaded not guilty and goes to trial in September.) But Bacanovic was acquitted of doctoring the document anyway. In her ruling on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum wrote that Larry Stewart's alleged perjury wouldn't have affected Bacanovic and Martha Stewart's conviction on charges of lying to investigators about her controversial ImClone stock sale. ''Because there is no reasonable likelihood that this perjury could have affected the jury's verdict, and because overwhelming independent evidence supports the verdict, the motions are denied,'' the judge wrote.

Judge Cedarbaum had previously rejected a motion for retrial in which Morvillo cited allegations that a juror had lied about a past arrest record in order to be empaneled for the trial. In a statement issued Thursday, Morvillo said: ''We continue to believe that the unprecedented double perjury -- by both a key government witness and a juror -- prevented Martha Stewart from receiving a fair trial.'' He said he was ''very disappointed'' that Judge Cedarbaum rejected his motions without holding a hearing and vowed to bring up these objections on appeal.

Originally posted Jul 08, 2004