Martha's Lawyers File Motion for New Trial

06/10/2004 at 05:00 PM EDT

Martha's Lawyers File Motion for New Trial
Martha Stewart
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/GETTY/Newscom
As expected, attorneys for Martha Stewart on Thursday filed a motion for a new trial, following her and her ex-stockbroker Peter Bacanovic's March 5 convictions for lying to federal investigators probing a questionable stock sale, PEOPLE has learned.

In a statement, the domestic doyenne's lawyers, Robert G. Morvillo and John J. Tigue, said: "Martha Stewart has today filed a motion for a new trial based on the perjury charge made by the government against its own expert witness, Secret Service official Larry Stewart."

Larry Stewart (no relation to Martha) was indicted on Wednesday, on what Stewart's legal team considers "perjured testimony (during her trial that) was vital to the prosecution's case and was used to substantiate the government's main point at trial – that Martha Stewart and Peter Bacanovic did not agree to a $60 target price for ImClone days before her sale."

As the motion stresses, "No conviction should be premised on the perjured testimony of any government official."

Morvillo and Tigue also maintain that "Secret Service officials in the courtroom monitoring the trial were aware of the perjury at the time, but did nothing to bring it to the attention of the court." They call the officials' silence "scandalous and not the way we expect the government to conduct itself."

Stewart's original June 17 sentencing date was postponed by U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum until July 8, in order to give the homemaker's lawyers time to file this motion.

Some legal experts, however, 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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