The Secret Service ink expert who testified for the government at the Martha Stewart trial was charged Friday with lying repeatedly on the stand. Lawyers for a stockbroker convicted with Stewart called for a new trial.
Stewart’s attorneys said the perjury charges cast new doubt on the government’s case against the domestic entrepreneur. Prosecutors insisted the charges did not undermine the convictions of Martha Stewart or her former broker, Peter Bacanovic.
The expert, Larry F. Stewart, was called as an expert witness by the government to discuss ink used on a worksheet prepared by Bacanovic listing stocks in Martha Stewart’s portfolio.
Prosecutors had accused Bacanovic of doctoring the worksheet to back up a cover story for why Martha Stewart sold ImClone Systems Inc. stock. Bacanovic was cleared on that charge, but convicted on four other counts.
Larry Stewart, who is not related to Martha Stewart, testified that he had worked on two ink-analysis examinations of the worksheet, in August 2002 and January 2004. Prosecutors said the Secret Service informed them last week that Stewart, the laboratory director at the Secret Service, did not work on those tests.
In addition, Stewart falsely testified that he was familiar with a proposal for a scientific textbook on ink analysis that had been submitted by two of his subordinates, Manhattan U.S. Attorney David Kelley said.
The two counts of perjury — based on eight statements made by Larry Stewart during his testimony on Feb. 19 and Feb. 25 — carry up to 10 years in prison.
“We have to hold all people to the same standard of integrity, and today we hold true to those commitments,” Kelley said.
Martha Stewart and Bacanovic were convicted March 5 of lying to federal authorities about why Stewart sold 3,928 shares of ImClone in December 2001, just before it plunged on a negative government report.
Stewart was convicted of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and making false statements. Bacanovic was convicted of perjury, obstruction, conspiracy and making false statements — but was acquitted of falsifying the worksheet.