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Stewart Witness to Face Trial

August 12, 2004|From Reuters

A U.S. Secret Service employee accused of lying during testimony in the criminal trial of lifestyle entrepreneur Martha Stewart lost a bid Wednesday to have charges against him dismissed by a federal judge.

Federal prosecutors allege that Larry Stewart, a Secret Service laboratory director, falsely testified during the closely watched trial about his involvement in testing ink on a worksheet kept by Martha Stewart's stockbroker.

Martha Stewart, who is not related to Larry Stewart, was convicted of conspiracy and sentenced to five months in prison and five months of house arrest.

An attorney for Larry Stewart, who was a prosecution witness, sought to have the perjury charges thrown out Wednesday, arguing that her client's testimony was not material to the trial of Martha Stewart and her stockbroker.

U.S. District Judge Denny Chin rejected the argument, ruling that Larry Stewart's potentially false testimony about his involvement in key tests on the worksheet could have affected the jury's assessment of his credibility.

"The testimony is clearly material," Chin said. "Whether an expert witness is personally involved in conducting tests is obviously something that would be significant to the jury."

Chin also turned down a request by defense lawyers to have the September trial moved from New York to Washington, closer to Larry Stewart's home in Bethesda, Md. In seeking the move, his lawyers said he had been suspended by the Secret Service, had no income, and was funding his defense from his savings.

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