Helped by several emails presented as evidence, he painted Ms Stewart as a nightmare client who once threatened to take her business away from Merrill because she didn’t care for the jingles it played on its telephone system when she was put on hold.
But the real bombshell from Mr Faneuil came earlier in proceedings. He flatly described how, on 27 December 2001, he warned Ms Stewart on the telephone that the founder of ImClone, a drugs company in which she had stock, was dumping his shares. Her response was quick, he said: “I want to sell”.
Thus, the main premise of the case against Ms Stewart, the celebrity homemaking guru, appeared to have been corroborated. The then chief executive of ImClone, Sam Waksal, had bailed out because he knew the government was going to withhold approval the following day of a drug the company was making. Thanks to the call from Mr Faneuil – allegedly acting on orders from Mr Bacanovic – so did Ms Stewart.
Unflappable on the stand, Mr Faneuil, 27, went on to recall how he became ensnared in a cover-up of these events. Both defendants claimed there had been a prior agreement between them to sell the ImClone shares if they fell beneath a certain price. Not so, said Mr Faneuil. No wonder the stoic expression worn by Ms Stewart at times turned to one of distress.
The government, which is accusing Ms Stewart of perjury, obstruction of justice and securities fraud – charges that could bring her 30 years in prison – appears to have bet the case on Mr Faneuil. With relentless cross-examination – so repetitive it drew groans from the public pews and more than one reprimand from the judge – the lawyer for Mr Bacanovic attempted to discredit Mr Faneuil