Tuesday, October 05, 2004
A government witness who testified against Westport’s Martha Stewart was found not guilty today of lying at her trial.
Larry Stewart, a Secret Service ink expert who is no relation to Martha Stewart, stood trial on charges that he testified falsely about his role in the investigation of Martha Stewart.
The two perjury counts carried a prison sentence of up to 10 years. The jury returned its verdict on the second day of deliberations.
Stewart, who had tears in his eyes while speaking outside a Manhattan court, said he felt “great” but called the ordeal “long, expensive and painful.”
His lawyer, Judith Wheat, said, “It has confirmed our faith, and particularly Mr. Stewart’s faith, in the jury system.”
Lawyers for Martha Stewart have said repeatedly that the perjury charges would play a large role in their effort to convince a federal appeals court to overturn the domestic entrepreneur’s conviction for lying about a stock sale.
While Martha Stewart’s former stockbroker, Peter Bacanovic, was acquitted of a charge of doctoring a stock worksheet—the count for which Larry Stewart was called to testify—her lawyers say the alleged perjury taints the entire prosecution.
But U.S. Attorney David Kelley said outside court today that he has always believed the case would have no impact on Martha Stewart’s appeal.
“I think we’re on solid ground on that point,” Kelly said.
Martha Stewart and Bacanovic were convicted of lying to federal investigators about why Stewart sold 3,928 shares of ImClone Systems Inc. stock in December 2001.
They received the same sentence—five months in prison, plus five months of house arrest. Both were allowed to remain free pending appeal.
Martha Stewart has decided to begin serving her prison sentence anyway. She must report by 2 p.m. Friday to the minimum-security federal women’s prison in Alderson, W.Va.
Posted 10/05/04 at 06:16 PM
Unfortunately, the wrong person was acquitted!
The man lied under oath! He said he did the testing, but didn’t! How is this not perjury? This just proves that Martha’s prosecution was nothing short of a “Witch Hunt.” I guess goverment witnesses are held to a lower degree of honesty when they are on the stand. Larry Stewart wishes he had the ingenuous nature that Martha Stewart has.
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