Stewart seeking new trial

Jury allegation spurs Martha motion

Martha Stewart’s lawyer Robert Morvillo filed a motion Wednesday seeking a new trial for the embattled domestic diva, claiming that a juror, Chappell Hartridge, had lied about his criminal record in a jury questionnaire.

Shares of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia rose 2.04% to $11.

In papers submitted to federal court in Manhattan, Morvillo said Hartridge didn’t reveal two arrests for assaulting a live-in girlfriend and the fact that he’d been sued three times. Morvillo said he would have contested Hartridge’s selection if he had known about the previous incidents — including the fact that Hartridge was once accused of stealing from a Little League association.

“These facts, in and of themselves, establish that Ms. Stewart is entitled to a new trial,” Morvillo wrote.

The papers also accused Hartridge of seeking money for post-trial interviews. Hartridge was one of the most outspoken jurors the day Stewart was convicted, saying in a widely broadcast TV interview that he believed the guilty verdict was “a victory for the little guys.” Morvillo wrote what a number of pundits had expressed at that time, that Hartridge’s comments reflected a clear “class bias.”

Stewart was found guilty March 5 on four counts of conspiracy, obstruction and making false statements (two counts) as federal investigators probed her sale of ImClone shares in December 2001. Her sentencing is set for June 17 and Stewart is expected to get 10-16 months in jail.

(Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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