Jurors at the Martha Stewart trial could begin deciding the case as early as Monday — and they'll do it without hearing a word from the domestic doyenne herself.
Stewart defense lawyer Robert Morvillo expected to start and end his case on Wednesday. He told the judge he planned to call no more than two witnesses — a former Stewart lawyer and an expert on memory.
The defense team for Peter Bacanovic, who is standing trial with Stewart on charges of lying to investigators, will also wrap up their case Wednesday after calling just five witnesses.
U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum was still deciding the schedule for closing arguments, but she said the jury could receive its instructions and start deliberating as soon as Monday.
Stewart and broker Peter Bacanovic are accused of lying about why Stewart sold ImClone Systems stock on Dec. 27, 2001.
Stewart and Bacanovic say they had pre-arranged to sell her shares when the price fell to $60. The government claims Stewart was tipped that ImClone founder Sam Waksal was frantically trying to sell his shares that day.
In keeping Stewart off the stand, Morvillo will simply argue prosecutors have failed to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Legal experts say putting Stewart on the stand would have raised a host of concerns for her defense team, including having her explain inconsistencies in her statements and exposing her to risky cross-examination by the government.
Other testimony at the trial has already shown Stewart's quick temper, and she could have damaged her case by appearing hostile or combative under intense questioning by prosecutors.
Stewart and Bacanovic have told investigators slightly different versions of what happened after the stock sale, although they both maintain the central element — that they had a plan to sell the stock at $60 per share.
Lawyers for the broker decided he would not take the stand because "the government hasn't made its case," spokesman Lou Colasuonno said. "It's a circumstantial case, with a lot of inference."
The star witness for the government was Douglas Faneuil, the young Merrill Lynch & Co. assistant who claims he passed the tip about the Waksal selling from Bacanovic to Stewart.
The day after Stewart sold, ImClone announced the government had declined to review its application for an experimental cancer drug. The stock sharply declined in the next trading day.
Prosecutors on Tuesday aggressively attacked the credibility of Heidi DeLuca, a Stewart business manager who has helped the defense by saying Bacanovic mentioned a desire to unload Stewart's ImClone shares at $60 or $61.
The prosecution cited a substantial pay raise DeLuca received after telling the government her version of the ImClone events, reports CBS News Early Show national correspondent Jon Frankel.
DeLuca placed the conversation about share prices on Nov. 8, 2001, about seven weeks before Stewart sold 3,928 shares of ImClone Systems stock.
Questioning DeLuca, prosecutor Michael Schachter tried to suggest that her conversation with Bacanovic had actually taken place in October and that the $60 or $61 instead referred to shares Stewart held in a pension account.
Schachter showed her a document dated Oct. 24, 2001, on which she had written an ImClone stock quote — $61.52 — while she was on the phone with Bacanovic.
DeLuca insisted that her memory was clear and that there had been more than one conversation.
On Monday, DeLuca testified: "He told me he felt ImClone was a dog. He felt he could set a floor price of $60 or $61 just in case the stock continued to fall, as a safeguard."
She said Tuesday that she had reminded Stewart of Bacanovic's plans on Jan. 29, 2002 — just six days before she gave her first interview to investigators in the ImClone probe.