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Judge sets Stewart trial for Jan. 12

Gov't attorney's attempts to jumpstart proceedings fails

A federal judge Thursday set a Jan. 12 trial date for Martha Stewart, who pleaded not guilty in May to charges of conspiracy, obstruction and securities fraud.

U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum overrode arguments from government attorneys that the trial should take place this year. Stewart’s lawyers said they need more time for discovery — in order to go through dozens of boxes of documents provided by the government.

Oral arguments for motions in the case will be heard Nov. 18, Cedarbaum said.

Alleged insider trading

Stewart’s current fix stems from her sale of 4,000 shares of biotech company ImClone in December 2001, just before federal regulators rejected ImClone’s much-hyped cancer drug Erbitux.

Stewart and her former stockbroker Peter Bacanovic, who worked for Merrill Lynch, will be tried together. Both appeared in court in Lower Manhattan on Thursday.

Bacanovic, who also was charged with perjury and obstruction, allegedly told assistant Douglas Faneuil to inform Stewart that ImClone CEO Sam Waksal was selling his stock, according to court papers.

Last week, Waksal was sentenced to more than seven years in prison and fined $3 million for insider trading and a number of other charges.

Shares of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia gained 0.21% to $9.40 on Thursday.