Witness: Unaware Martha Tip Was Wrong

02/09/2004 AT 10:36 AM EST

After nearly a week of damaging testimony against Martha Stewart, the prosecution's star witness had to start sticking up for his story under cross examination by the domestic diva's attorneys on Monday.

Douglas Faneuil, the former assistant to stockbroker Peter Bacanovic, 41, who is on trial with Stewart, 62, said he did not believe he was doing anything wrong when he gave her the tip that led to her 2001 sale of ImClone Systems stock, the Associated Press reported.

Faneuil also testified that Stewart never encouraged him to lie.

Stewart is charged with obstructing justice by lying to federal authorities investigating possible insider trading of her shares of the biotech stock. She is also charged with misleading investors in her own company, Martha Stewart Omnimedia Inc. She and Bacanovic have pleaded not guilty.

On Monday Stewart's attorney Robert Morvillo grilled the 28-year-old Faneuil, asking him whether he deliberately broke Merrill Lynch & Co. policy in telling Stewart that ImClone founder and Stewart friend Sam Waksal was trying to dump his own shares.

"I was attempting to be a client associate, take clients' orders, do what Peter told me to do," said Faneuil, according to the AP. He did admit that sharing the information made him uneasy.

Morvillo attempted to point out discrepancies in Faneuil's testimony, asking him if the prosecution had prepared him for questions, reports CNN. Faneuil said some of the prosecution's line did catch him off guard, though he could not specify which parts.

Morvillo's questioning lasted half of Monday, and then Faneuil was turned over to prosecutor Karen Patton Seymour for re-examination.

Last week, Faneuil's testimony painted a picture of Stewart as a rude and shrill client. Describing his telephone relationship with her, Faneuil compared the sound of her voice to "a lion roaring underwater" and said, "I have never ever been treated more rudely by a stranger on the telephone," reports Reuters and other news sources.

Monday was Faneuil's fourth day on the stand, and the start of the third week of trial.

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