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Martha Still On The Hook

Martha Stewart has delivered 1,000 pages of documents sought by a House panel probing her sale of ImClone stock, but there's nothing in them to support her claim that the sale was made because of a "stop-loss" order, a congressman said Wednesday.

Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., appearing on CBS News' Early Show, was asked whether the any of the documents backed up Stewart's crucial claim.

"Unfortunately, I have to say no," Stupak said. The congressman said staffers had quickly reviewed the documents for just such evidence after receiving them from Stewart's lawyers on Tuesday.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee had requested phone and e-mail records from Stewart and had threatened to subpoena them if she did not give them up voluntarily.

The committee is trying to clear up questions about what, if anything, Stewart knew about trouble at ImClone when she sold almost 4,000 shares on Dec. 27, one day before it was announced that the government had rejected a much-touted ImClone anti-cancer drug. ImClone stock plummeted in value after the announcement.

Stewart said she sold because she had a pre-existing arrangement with her broker to dump the stock if the price fell below $60 a share.

The panel will likely take a couple weeks to go through the various documents turned over by Stewart. "I suspect it will be early September before Chairman (Rep. Billy) Tauzin decides if a subpoena of Ms. Stewart is necessary," he said.

Stewart, whose empire includes marketing tips on cooking, crafts and home decorating, has denied any wrongdoing. Until June, she had been a regular contributor to The Early Show.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that her stockbroker's assistant called Stewart to warn her that ImClone founder Sam Waksal was selling his shares.

Waksal was arrested in June on charges that he advised family members and friends to sell their stock before the public announcement that the Food and Drug Administration would not review the company's anticancer drug, Erbitux.

He also has been indicted on obstruction of justice charges for allegedly ordering documents to be destroyed. ImClone sued him last week, charging its former president with lying to the board of directors by assuring them that he would cooperate with the federal investigation.

The House committee also may ask the Justice Department to file criminal charges for making false statements to Congress and obstruction of justice, a panel spokesman said.

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