Tuesday Vital to Martha Prosecution

02/03/2004 AT 01:00 PM EST

Martha Stewart's trial resumed in Manhattan federal court Monday, and a star prosecution witness has been cleared to testify after being yanked off the stand last week.

Judge Miriam Cederbaum delayed the testimony of Douglas Faneuil, the former assistant to the domestic diva's stockbroker, Peter Bacanovic, after defense attorneys complained last week that prosecutors had failed to share information that might damage his credibility.

Faneuil, 28, who will testify Tuesday, is said to be crucial to establishing the case against Stewart, 62, who, along with Bacanovic, 41, is accused of lying to investigators about thousands of shares of ImClone stock sold in late 2001, just before negative news about one of the biotech company's new drugs sent the value tumbling.

Stewart also is accused of lying to shareholders in her own company.

During Monday's proceedings, Emily Perret, former assistant to ImClone's then-CEO Sam Waksal, told jurors that Stewart called the company's offices on Dec. 27, 2001 and ordered her to find the top officer, reports Reuters.

Informed of Waksal's unavailability, Stewart left a message that Perret recorded in her phone log as, "Martha Stewart. Something is going on with ImClone and she wants to know what."

"She seemed very hurried and harsh and direct," Perret said. However, under cross-examination, Perret was asked if this tone was different from other conversations with Stewart.

"Most of the time it was that way," said Perret, describing Stewart and Waksal as good friends who often spoke on the phone. Perret has a deal with the government under which she will not be prosecuted in exchange for her testimony.

Wearing an orange jacket and black slacks, Stewart was accompanied in court on Monday by her daughter Alexis and other supporters, including Rosie O'Donnell, who, according to The New York Times, was passing out M&M's.

O'Donnell, 41, sitting in the front row, hugged Stewart at the end of the day's proceedings then told one of the prosecutors he would always be remembered for trying to bring down the lifestyle giant, reports Reuters..

Relating her remarks to the press, O'Donnell said she advised the prosecutor, "You should have passed on this gig."

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