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Last Updated: Friday, 11 June, 2004, 06:10 GMT 07:10 UK
Fresh chance for Stewart retrial
Martha Stewart
Martha Stewart is hoping to get a last minute reprieve
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart has filed for a new trial after a government witness was charged with lying.

Secret service laboratory director Larry Stewart, no relation to Martha, is accused of falsely testifying that he carried out tests on a key document.

Ms Stewart is claiming that her case was "corroded" by his actions.

The TV celebrity is facing jail after being convicted of two counts of making false statements, one of obstructing justice and one of conspiracy.

Spotlight

The trial was widely watched in the US, where Ms Stewart is a household name and has made a fortune giving lifestyle tips.

Simply stated, a verdict that rests on upon such a corroded foundation cannot stand
Martha Stewart's lawyers

She has a stable of books, magazines and multimedia offerings through which she advises US consumers on how to eat, marry, garden and entertain with greater style.

But her empire wobbled as it emerged that she sold shares in bio-tech firm ImClone a day before damaging information was released about a drug trial.

Ms Stewart and her broker Peter Bacanovic were found guilty of trying to thwart a government probe into the sale. She is due to be sentenced next month.

Opening

It may not come to that, however, with her lawyers demanding a retrial after it emerged that Mr Stewart may have lied under oath about the extent of his involvement in the forensic examinations.

He had been called as an expert witness regarding the ink used on a broker's worksheet relating to Stewart's share deal.

The government employee, who claimed to have worked on the document from the start, is accused of only being involved in a later examination.

He was indicted by a grand jury on Thursday and has yet to enter a plea relating to the charges.

Ms Stewart's lawyers said that: "The government's election to call Larry Stewart as a witness and to present his testimony at trial produced an error of constitutional dimensions in several respects, requiring the convictions be vacated and a new trial ordered".

They argue that: "There can be no denying that Mr Stewart's perjury was material".

"Simply stated, a verdict that rests on upon such a corroded foundation cannot stand," the lawyers said.

An earlier attempt to get a retrial based on the comments of a jury member was denied.


SEE ALSO:
Stewart retrial hopes are revived
21 May 04  |  Business
Martha Stewart retrial bid denied
05 May 04  |  Business
Martha Stewart pays price of fame
05 Mar 04  |  Business
No testimony from Martha Stewart
25 Feb 04  |  Business


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