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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 February, 2004, 22:59 GMT
No testimony from Martha Stewart
Martha Stewart arrives at court on Friday
Martha Stewart's defence team want the gravest charges dismissed
Defence lawyers for US homemaking and etiquette guru Martha Stewart have put up only one witness.

Stephen Pearl, a lawyer who took notes of police interviews with Ms Stewart, testified that their record of her replies was inaccurate.

The defence team then rested their case without calling Ms Stewart to the witness stand.

Ms Stewart faces up to 30 years in jail if found guilty of lying about illegal stock tip-offs.

Many observers think the defence team's strategy will be to argue in their summing up that the case against Ms Stewart has not been proved.

Confident silence?

This seems the most likely explanation for the brief defence testimony.

The prosecution case was weakened when one of their key witnesses - Mariana Pasternak, a former close friend of Ms Stewart - changed her evidence under cross examination from the defence lawyers.

Ms Stewart's trial has mesmerised the American public, among whom her TV shows and magazines offering advice on decor, cookery and grooming have won her a huge following.

Ms Stewart's stockbroker Peter Bacanovic is also on trial. His defence case has been completed.

Considered decision

Ms Stewart, 62, is accused of selling shares in Imclone, a medical technology company, after getting a phone call from her brokers warning that Imclone's founder and his family were getting rid of their holdings.

Earlier witnesses have testified that Ms Stewart had been unhappy with the value of her investment in Imclone for some time, and had discussed selling the stock with them.

Ms Stewart's lawyers have asked the judge to dismiss some of the most serious charges against her. Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum is due to rule on their request at the start of next week.

The closing arguments are expected to last two days, with the jury beginning its deliberations by mid-week.

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05 Feb 04  |  Business
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20 Jan 04  |  Americas
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Scandal hits Martha Stewart profits
11 Aug 03  |  Business

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