Larry F. Stewart, the Secret Service ink expert who was accused of lying on the stand in the obstruction of justice trial of Martha Stewart, was acquitted yesterday of two charges of perjury.
Mr. Stewart, who is no relation to Ms. Stewart, the founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, was charged with lying in his testimony about his role in analyzing notations made with blue pen on a document listing Ms. Stewart’s stock holdings. She was convicted in March of lying to investigators about the reason for her sale of nearly 4,000 shares of ImClone Systems, a company led at the time by her friend Samuel D. Waksal. She is scheduled to report to prison on Friday.
In Federal District Court in Manhattan yesterday, Mr. Stewart, wearing a dark suit and a white shirt, listened impassively as the foreman of the jury of eight men and four women responded to queries from Judge Denny Chin with the words “not guilty.” The judge thanked lawyers for both sides, then added: “Mr. Stewart, good luck to you.”
Mr. Stewart turned to watch the jury file out of the courtroom, then tightly embraced Judith Wheat, his lawyer. A few moments later, Mr. Stewart stood in a hall outside the courtroom and in a voice that trembled briefly gave thanks for his acquittal and called the trial “long, expensive and painful.”
Mr. Stewart, the laboratory director for the Secret Service who served as an expert on ink, was charged in May with two counts of perjury. Prosecutors accused him of exaggerating his role in analyzing critical documents used as evidence at Martha Stewart’s trial and of lying about his knowledge of a technical book his lab colleagues were writing.
The document that Mr. Stewart testified about was important because it contained the notation “@60,” which defense lawyers contended showed that Ms. Stewart had a pre-existing agreement with her broker to sell ImClone shares at $60. Prosecutors said that she sold the shares shortly before the stock price fell sharply because she had learned that members of Dr. Waksal’s family were trying to sell their shares, and that her broker had added the “@60” to provide false evidence of a pre-existing agreement.