updated 1/9/2004 7:58:28 AM ET 2004-01-09T12:58:28

The questionnaire filled out by potential jurors in the Martha Stewart trial asked whether they had bought her products or cooked with any of her recipes, according to an account posted on a Web site.

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The site Gawker.com posted a lengthy report from a person who claimed to be one of the hundreds of potential jurors who filled out the query Tuesday at a federal courthouse in Manhattan.

The 35-page questionnaire also asked whether potential jurors owned stock in Stewart-controlled Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia or ImClone Systems, the company whose stock Stewart told in 2001, triggering an investigation.

The questionnaire was drawn up by lawyers on both sides, hoping to weed out those with obvious bias. Some of the potential jurors will be interviewed in court Jan. 20, when Stewart makes her first appearance at the trial.

Prosecutors, the defense and the judge have declined to release the questionnaire. But a person close to the case, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed to The Associated Press that the Web site account was accurate in identifying the topics _ if not the exact wording _ of the questions.

Stewart, who owns a home in Westport, Conn., and her former stockbroker Peter Bacanovic are accused of lying to investigators about why Stewart dumped her ImClone stock on Dec. 27, 2001, just before a negative government report about an ImClone drug sent its price falling.

The defendants claim they had a pre-existing order to sell ImClone when it fell to $60. The government says Stewart sold on a tip that ImClone founder Sam Waksal was trying to sell his family's shares.

The Web site account could violate a Jan. 2 order from the judge in the case that no member of the press, including Internet media, can "speak to, interview, or have any contact" with potential jurors.

In addition, members of any jury pool are routinely instructed not to speak to anyone about the case.

Gawker.com did not claim to have a copy of the questionnaire — only that it posted a first-person account from someone who had filled it out. Choire Sicha, the Web site's editor, declined to comment.

A staff member for U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum declined to comment Thursday and referred questions to court executives, who said they had not been asked to investigate the matter. Federal prosecutors also declined to comment, and a spokesman for Stewart did not immediately return a call.

The Web site report said the questionnaire contained "nothing juicy." It asked whether jurors had heard of Bacanovic and whether intense media coverage of the trial would hamper their ability to deliver an impartial verdict.

The questionnaire also asked potential jurors whether they had heard of Martha Stewart — a question the Web site writer paraphrased as "Do you live in a cave?"

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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