[QODLink]
Archive
Charge against Stewart dropped

The most serious charge against lifestyle guru Martha Stewart has been dropped.

Last Modified: 28 Feb 2004 01:36 GMT
Martha Stewart has scored a major victory

The most serious charge against lifestyle guru Martha Stewart has been dropped.

The US federal judge overseeing the trial of the multi-millionaire dismissed on Friday the most serious charge of securities fraud, which carried a maximum 10-year prison term.

The decision was a major victory for Stewart, although she still faces charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and making false statements to federal investigators.

Explaining her decision, Judge Miriam Cedarbaum said the evidence provided to substantiate the securities fraud charge was "simply too weak" to prove criminal intent.

The ruling came as the defence and prosecution teams were due to begin their closing summations in the trial, which is expected to go to the jury some time next week.

Stewart is accused of ordering her broker to sell her stock holdings in biotech firm ImClone after she received an improper tip that federal regulators would not approve ImClone's anti-cancer drug, Erbitux.

The securities fraud charge was always considered the weakest part of the prosecution's case.

It was based on the argument that Stewart's statements of innocence over the ImClone selloff were an attempt to mislead investors and halt the downward spiral in the share price of her own company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
In Brussels, NGO staff are being trained to fill the shortfall of field workers in West Africa.
Lawsuit by 6-year-old girl, locked up for a year, reignites debate over indefinite detention of 'boat people'.
Indonesian and Malaysian authorities are keeping a close eye on local supporters of the hard-line Middle East group.
Citizens of the tiny African nation say they're increasingly anxious of the fallout after alleged coup.
A humanitarian crisis and a budget crisis converge in the heart of the human smuggling corridor in Texas.
join our mailing list