Martha Gets 3-Week Delay in Sentencing

06/07/2004 at 01:25 PM EDT

Martha Gets 3-Week Delay in Sentencing
Martha Stewart
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/GETTY/Newscom
Sentencing day for Martha Stewart and her former stockbroker Peter Bacanovic is now July 8 – and not the previously announced June 17 – so that their lawyers have more time to prepare bids for a new trial, U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum has ruled.

Lawyers for both parties confirmed the three-week delay to the Associated Press.

The domestic diva, 62, and Bacanovic, 41, were convicted on March 5 of lying to federal investigators probing a questionable stock sale.

Stewart's lawyers said Judge Cedarbaum granted the extension in light of perjury charges filed against government witness Larry Stewart (no relation to Martha). Larry Stewart, a Secret Service ink expert, was accused last month of lying eight separate times on the witness stand, chiefly about a worksheet prepared by Bacanovic.

"The motion for a new trial, expected to be made later this week, will contend that the jury was unfairly affected by the alleged perjury of government witness Larry Stewart," Stewart lawyers Robert Morvillo and John J. Tigue said in a statement.

AP notes, however, that legal experts have expressed their belief that the new-trial request will be a longshot given that Larry Stewart's testimony mainly concerned a charge of falsifying documents against Bacanovic – a count on which the ex-stockbroker was exonerated.

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