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Stewart lawyer questions reliability of witnesses

 (The Spokesman-Review)
Stewart (The Spokesman-Review)
Associated Press

NEW YORK — A lawyer for Martha Stewart suggested Tuesday that allegations of perjury by a Secret Service employee who testified at her trial cast doubt on the credibility of other government witnesses as well.

The remarks by lawyer David Chesnoff on the CBS News program “The Early Show” were a possible glimpse at the strategy of the Stewart defense team, which is expected to use the perjury allegations to seek a new trial.

“If this jury had known that the director of the Secret Service’s forensic office, the people that guard the president, was capable of lying, then what would that have said about the person who testified from the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) or the FBI agent?” he asked.

Stewart and ex-stockbroker Peter Bacanovic were convicted March 5 of lying about why the homemaking entrepreneur sold 3,928 shares of ImClone Systems stock in December 2001, just before the price plunged.

On Friday, the government charged Secret Service laboratory director Larry Stewart, who testified for the prosecution, with lying about his role in lab tests of a worksheet prepared by Martha Stewart’s broker.

Martha Stewart is unrelated to Larry Stewart.

Prosecutors insist the perjury charge does not undermine the guilty verdicts against Martha Stewart and Bacanovic. Bacanovic was cleared of the charge of falsifying a document — the subject of Larry Stewart’s testimony.

Chesnoff said Martha Stewart is hopeful the perjury allegations “will lead to a complete vindication.”

A federal judge has already denied a new trial based on allegations that one juror lied on his jury questionnaire.

“I think the court is going to say, ‘Enough is enough,’ “Chesnoff said.

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