Martha's Case Wraps Up As Defense Rests
Martha Stewart may face her fate as early as next week.
After deciding not to put their client on the stand and calling just one witness, Stewart's defense team rested its case Wednesday, Reuters reports. After closing arguments next Monday and Tuesday, the jury will begin deliberations.
Attorneys for the domestic diva had called Steven Pearl, another Stewart lawyer, to the stand. Pearl, who was present for the FBI's 2002 interview with Stewart about her sale of ImClone Systems stock, contradicted notes taken by the agent.
Those notes were the basis for the charges claiming that Stewart lied to investigators about the timing of the Dec. 27, 2001, stock sale. Pearl's own records, which he admitted were incomplete, showed that Stewart's scrutinized response -- about whether she remembered details of a call from her broker -- may have been to another question, the Associated Press reports. (The conversation between the FBI and Stewart had not been taped.)
Although Pearl was the only witness for Stewart's team, others called by her former stockbroker Peter Bacanovic's attorneys, including one of Stewart's business managers, Heidi DeLuca, bolstered her case and backed up their story that they had an agreement to sell the stock if it dipped to $60 a share.
The two are on trial together, charged with lying to prosecutors about whether a tip from Bacanovic prompted Stewart to sell nearly 4,000 shares of ImClone stock after founder Sam Waksal sold his. Stewart also is charged with securities fraud.
Like Stewart, Bacanovic did not take the witness stand. But prosecutors, who rested their case last Friday, brought in another piece of evidence Wednesday: a portion of Bacanovic's interview with the Securities and Exchange Commission in which he says he never discussed the $60 agreement with DeLuca, the AP reports. They also brought in an ink expert to testify that the defense used an unreliable machine to test a worksheet with markings that could back the existence of the $60 agreement.
Earlier in the week Stewart's attorneys had motioned for U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum to dismiss some of the key charges against their client, including a count of securities fraud. The judge said she would rule on that motion later, although a complete dismissal is unlikely, Reuters reports.
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