[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
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
Afghan militias have accumulated a lengthy record of human-rights abuses, including murders and rapes.
Growing poverty is strengthening a trend among UK Muslims to fund charitable work closer to home.
A groundbreaking study from Johns Hopkins University shows that for big segments of the US population it is.
Critics claim a vaguely worded secrecy law gives the Japanese government sweeping powers.
A new book looks at Himalayan nation's decades of political change and difficult transition from monarchy to democracy.
join our mailing list