TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/GETTY/Newscom
05/25/2004 at 09:00 AM EDT
Lawyers for Martha Stewart and her former broker, Peter Bacanovic, will request a new trial for their clients next week after a government witness in their first trial was charged with perjury, her lawyers have said.
Attorney Robert Morvillo, who represents Stewart, announced he will file the new motion.
Since Friday's revelation that a key prosecution witness against Martha Stewart has been charged with lying on the stand, legal experts have been divided about the possible fallout.
The domestic diva, 62, is still due to be sentenced June 17 for her conviction on lying to federal investigators looking into a questionable stock sale. But Friday's news that Secret Service ink expert Larry Stewart (no relation to Martha) allegedly lied on the witness stand is being viewed as probably more beneficial to Bacanovic, than to her, attorney and Court TV commentator Edward Hayes tells the Associated Press.
Larry Stewart is charged with perjury after testifying that he participated in the original examination of Bacanovic's worksheet and the testing of the ink used to make the "@60" notation. Prosecutors argued that the stockbroker altered a worksheet to look as if he and Martha Stewart had a pre-existing agreement to sell the stock should it fall below $60.
"It's a substantial issue, and she had no other substantial issues for an appeal," argues Hayes.
Fellow defense attorney Timothy M. Donohue concurs, but points out: "The prosecution indicted their own witness. But the question is, 'How does that apply to her?'"
CNN, on the other hand, gives Martha a fighting chance at having another trial, based on opinions by two former prosecutors and a defense attorney.
One of them, Tai Park, a former federal prosecutor who practices at Shearman & Sterling in New York, told the financial news cable network: "There's going to have to be a retrial."