US Domestic Diva Appeals her Conviction

21 March 2005

America's guru of all things stylish Martha Stewart is back in court appealing against her conviction for lying to government investigators about her share dealings.

Stewart claims her name should be cleared because prosecutors relied on perjured and inadmissible testimony and a juror allegedly lied on his screening questionnaire.

The domestic diva, head of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia through which she publishes home and style guidance and markets household paraphernalia, alleges Chappell Hartridge lied to get on the jury.

Appeal court Judge Richard Wesley demanded to know why the original trial judge had not ordered a hearing into these allegations

Prosecutor Michael Schachter told the Manhattan court that Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum had no obligation to hold a hearing, as the defense had failed to show Hartridge was deliberately dishonest.

Stewart's lawyers also cited a government ink expert's alleged perjury, evidence which failed to impress the appeal judges.

The next legal strategy, which some might view as straw clutching, involves possible re-sentencing, following the Supreme Court's decision that federal sentencing guidelines are unconstitutional.

The queen of modern manners has just completed a five month jail term. She is now serving the remainder of her sentence under house arrest in her Connecticut home for a further five months, although she is able leave for up to 48 hours a week to carry on her business interests.

She must also wear an ankle electronic monitor at all times, hence her sudden fondness for stylish trouser suits.

Data sourced from USA Today Online; additional content by WARC staff