Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum called an early halt to the Martha Stewart trial in New York late last week when new evidence released to the defense appeared to challenge the testimony of Douglas Faneuil (28), the government's star witness, even before he took the stand.

Richard Strassberg, a lawyer for former Merrill Lynch broker Peter Bacanovic -- Stewart's co-defendant -- said the government handed over late Wednesday evening the transcript of an interview that purportedly casts doubt on the charges against his client.

Such evidence also could aid Stewart's lawyers, priming their guns to attack Faneuil's credibility.

Judge Cedarbaum called an early halt to the trial and delayed Faneuil's testimony for up to a week to give the defense time to investigate the new evidence. The prosecution now has no option but to call other witnesses on Monday, thereby overturning the chronological order in which it planned to present its case.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff