Martha Stewart’s bid for a new trial was denied by a federal judge on Thursday, setting the stage for the lifestyle trendsetter’s sentencing next week on her conspiracy and obstruction of justice convictions.
Stewart’s lawyers sought a new trial after a U.S. Secret Service laboratory director was indicted for perjuring himself during Stewart’s first trial. The technician testified as an expert witness about ink on a worksheet kept by Martha Stewart’s stockbroker.
“Because there is no reasonable likelihood that this perjury could have affected the jury’s verdict, and because overwhelming independent evidence supports the verdict, the motions are denied,” said U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum in a 43-page ruling.
The judge also denied a hearing on the matter.
This is the second time Cedarbaum has denied the defense team’s efforts to win a new trial. She previously rejected arguments that the conviction should be thrown out on allegations that a juror lied on the jury selection questionnaire and made public statements showing his bias against the rich and famous.
“We are very disappointed that Judge Cedarbaum has once again rejected Martha Stewart’s request for a new trial without holding a hearing,” Robert Morvillo, Stewart’s lawyer, said in a statement. “We continue to believe that the unprecedented double perjury — by both a key government witness and a juror — prevented Martha Stewart from receiving a fair trial.”
The defense team plans to raise these and other issues on an appeal to be filed after Stewart’s sentencing, scheduled for July 16.
Stewart, who built a media empire on tips for gracious living, was found guilty on March 5 of conspiring with her former Merrill Lynch stockbroker Peter Bacanovic to hide the reason behind her sale of shares in the biotech company ImClone Systems Inc. on Dec. 27, 2001. Bacanovic was also convicted in the case.
Morvillo’s latest motion for a new trial concerned lab director Larry Stewart, who is not related to Martha Stewart. The government accuses the technician of lying on the stand when he said he had conducted certain ink work tests himself, when the tests were actually performed by someone else.
He has pleaded not guilty to the perjury charges.