Stewart Prosecution Witness Charged

A government witness in the Martha Stewart trial has been arrested and charged with two counts of perjury representing eight separate lies in connection with his testimony, according to the U.S Attorney's office for New York's Southern District.

Larry Stewart (no kin to Martha), the Laboratory Director for the United States Secret Service, was an expert witness who testified about inks in handwritten notes on a worksheet that listed securities positions held by Martha Stewart. The worksheet contained the notation "@60" and the government alleged Stewart's broker, Peter Bacanovic, had added that notation afterward to support his claim that there had been an agreement to sell the stock when it fell below 60 dollars a share.

Larry Stewart had testified that the ink was different from other inks on the document. The government now claims he had no involvement in the initial examination of the worksheet, or even in a follow-up examination, though it says the initial findings, conducted by another forensics expert, do not change.

Bacanovic was eventually acquitted of the charge relating to the allegedly falsified document.

TV lifestyle diva Martha Stewart was convicted of trying to cover up details of her sale of ImClone stock. She is scheduled to be sentenced next month and, according to the government, Larry Stewart's perjury does not compromise the validity of Stewart or Bacanovic's convictions.

Nonetheless, the stock of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia was up 10% on the news.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.