Can Martha Stewart Get a New Trial?
Martha Stewart's lawyers on Wednesday filed a motion for a new trial after it was revealed that the vocal juror who called the domestic diva's conviction "a victory for the little people" was under investigation himself, according to published reports.
Outspoken juror Chappell Hartridge may have jeopardized the government's case against Stewart by lying about his history and failing to disclose earlier arrests and lawsuits filed against him.
Hartridge was the first juror to publicly speak out after Stewart was found guilty on March 5 of lying to federal investigators about her Dec. 27, 2001, sale of nearly 4,000 shares of ImClone Systems stock. The juror appeared on TV and news shows for days after the conviction, taking Stewart to task for lying about the sale.
But it appears Hartridge has a few issues he would have preferred remain undisclosed. At issue are a number of recently disclosed incidents from his past, including an arrest on assault charges against a former live-in girlfriend, as well as several lawsuits that resulted in judgments and allegations that Hartridge stole up to $50,000 from a Bronx Little League organization for which he was the treasurer, the Associated Press reports.
Potential jurors in the case were asked whether they been in court, been sued or been arrested. Hartridge answered "no" to all three. Lawyers for Stewart claim that if they had known the truth about Hartridge, they would have sought to remove him from the panel, which might have opened the road for a juror who would have found Stewart innocent.
Three other potential jurors were initially dismissed from the case when their past criminal behavior was revealed.
Hartridge could not be reached for comment. A spokesman for the federal prosecutors said, "We are reviewing the motion and will respond at the appropriate time."
Stewart's sentencing is scheduled for June 17. She is expected to receive between 10 and 16 months in prison.