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Stewart lawyers allege new juror lies

/ Source: The Associated Press

Pressing again for a new trial, lawyers for Martha Stewart said Wednesday they had uncovered new lies and omissions by one of the jurors who convicted her last month.

Papers filed in Manhattan federal court said juror Chappell Hartridge had confessed to embezzling money from a Little League organization and to a cocaine habit, but disclosed neither on his jury questionnaire.

The papers also said Hartridge's son was convicted of attempted robbery in June 2000 _ information Stewart's lawyers said he omitted from his jury form.

Lawyers for Stewart have argued that they would have moved to have Hartridge stricken from the jury had they known about any of the undisclosed facts from his past.

The papers filed Wednesday asked U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum, who oversaw Stewart's trial earlier this year, to grant a second trial or at least a hearing on the matter.

Hartridge could not immediately be reached for comment. A listed phone number for him was out of service.

On the cocaine charge, Stewart's lawyers filed an affidavit by Francisco Rivera, a former president of the Little League organization, who said Hartridge had personally confessed the drug habit to him.

Federal prosecutors had no comment, spokesman Marvin Smilon said.

Stewart was convicted March 5 of lying to investigators, conspiracy and obstruction of justice, all related to a well-timed sale of ImClone Systems stock in 2001, just before it plunged on a negative government report.

The domestic entrepreneur is to be sentenced June 17. Legal experts expect her to receive a sentence of 10 to 16 months in prison, although she could be allowed to serve some of it confined to her home.