updated 10/21/2004 11:15:38 AM ET 2004-10-21T15:15:38

Martha Stewart asked a federal appeals court to overturn her conviction, arguing that a host of problems with prosecutors' case had "tainted" her trial.

Among Stewart's complaints was that lawyers for the federal government improperly suggested during the trial that Stewart — who is already in prison — had engaged in insider trading. She was never charged with that crime.

"Tarring Stewart with an uncharged, highly inflammatory crime was fundamentally unfair; that unfairness was compounded by rulings that barred Stewart from responding to those charges and prevented the jury from understanding what was — and what was not — properly before it," her lawyers argued in statements filed with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Their arguments made public Thursday.

Video: Martha's prison progress Stewart's lawyers also charged that a juror lied on his jury questionnaire about whether he had ever been sued or accused of wrongdoing on the job, and that one of the government's own witnesses, ink expert Larry Stewart, lied on the stand.

The homemaking maven also challenged prosecutors' use of audiotapes of her former stockbroker, Peter Bacanovic, being interviewed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, even though he did not testify in the trial. Martha Stewart's lawyers argued that using the tapes violated a U.S. Supreme Court decision earlier this year that barred using statements of a person who does not appear at trial.

Stewart elected to begin serving her five-month prison sentence earlier this month at a minimum-security facility in Alderson, W.Va., instead of remaining free pending appeal.

Legal experts have said she faces an uphill battle in getting her conviction overturned. Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum, who presided over Stewart's trial, has said Stewart and Bacanovic were convicted based on "overwhelming independent evidence." And a jury in Manhattan acquitted Larry Stewart of perjury charges earlier this month.

Martha Stewart and Bacanovic were convicted in March of lying to investigators about why Stewart sold ImClone stock in December 2001, just before the stock price plunged.

Bacanovic asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn his conviction. He remains free on bail.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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