Thursday, February 22, 2024

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Martha Stewart Trial: Prosecution Begins Closing Arguments

The prosecution began its closing arguments today in the trial of Westport’s Martha Stewart, telling the jury that Stewart knew going into a meeting with federal authorities in 2002 that she would lie about her sale of ImClone Systems stock.

“She would conceal from the FBI and the (Securities and Exchange Commission) the true reason for her sale,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Schachter. “Martha Stewart would lie.”

His summation took about three hours and ended with him urging the jury to use common sense in their deliberations. He said if they did, they would find the defendants guilty on all counts.

Schachter argued that Stewart and her co-defendant, broker Peter Bacanovic, hatched a cover story claiming that they had a prearranged agreement to sell ImClone shares when they fell to $60.

“Martha Stewart probably thought she would never get caught,” said Schachter.

But she “left behind a trail of evidence,” including an altered phone log, which combined with the testimony of brokerage assistant Douglas Faneuil, proves her guilt, he said.

Revised Property Assessment List Completed, Notices Go Out

A revised 2003 Westport property assessment list was completed over the weekend and notices went out today to about 900 residents informing them whether any changes were made in their property’s valuation, according to Assessor Glenn Werfelman.

“I signed off on it Saturday in the Town Clerk’s office,” he said, completing a review of assessments that had sparked controversy since the original list was published in mid-January.

Werfelman said “900 plus or minus” notices were sent to all residents who had raised issues with J. F. Ryan Associates, the firm hired to do the assessment. The list contains more than 10,000 properties.

He said notices also were sent to those whose assessments had changed, up or down, as a result of the review but who did not personally come forward.