Defense attorney Richard Strassberg tried to cast doubt on the credibility of the prosecution’s star witness, Bacanovic’s former assistant Doug Faneuil.
Strassberg described Faneuil as “a person with extreme motivation to shape the truth,” and said he had twisted key facts in his testimony. During the trial, Faneuil testified that he told Stewart — at Bacanovic’s behest — that ImClone founder Sam Waksal was trying to sell his shares that day.
Strassberg also suggested that Faneuil was so excited to know a celebrity that he could have tipped Stewart off without Bacanovic’s instructions. “Doug Faneuil was starstruck in a scary, obsessive kind-of way,” Strassberg told jurors in his summation.
Earlier Monday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Schachter, summing up the government’s case against Stewart and her broker, tried to paint a picture of intended deceit by the home decor expert and Bacanovic about her sale of ImClone Systems stock on Dec. 27, 2001.
“Martha Stewart and Peter Bacanovic had two options — tell the truth or decline to be interviewed,” Schachter said. “They chose an option the law does not allow — to lie, conceal and cover up.”
“She thought she would probably never get caught,” Schachter told the jury. “They made serious mistakes and left behind a trail of evidence.”
Schachter also tried to elevate the credibility of witnesses called by the prosecution, including Faneuil.
“Douglas Faneuil’s demeanor on that witness stand showed you he tried his level best to tell the truth,” Schachter argued. “Ask yourselves this, ‘Why on earth would somebody make this up?’ ”
Actor Brian Dennehy came to court Monday to show his support for Stewart, saying the two are “old, old, deep friends. I think that there are a lot of misconceptions about her.”
On Tuesday, Bacanovic’s defense is expected to speak for another hour, after which Stewart’s attorney, Robert Morvillo, will give his closing argument. The prosecution will then have another chance to speak.