- The Washington Times - Monday, December 29, 2003

NEW YORK (AP) — Just days before the criminal trial of Martha Stewart, a judge yesterday rejected government efforts to collect more evidence in the securities fraud case.

U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum said attorney-client privilege protects some of the documents sought by federal prosecutors in Manhattan while other material is not relevant to the charges.

She did permit the government to obtain billing records from a law firm hired by Mrs. Stewart.

Prosecutors had sought 11 categories of documents from a law firm that represents Mrs. Stewart and from co-defendant Peter Bacanovic.

Mrs. Stewart, whose criminal trial begins in mid-January, is accused of lying to investigators about why she unloaded ImClone Systems stock on Dec. 27, 2001, just before it plunged on a negative government review of the companys cancer drug.

Mrs. Stewart and Mr. Bacanovic, her stockbroker, are charged with conspiracy to “willfully and knowingly” obstruct justice and make false statements in the stock trading scandal.

Mrs. Stewart claims she had a standing order with Mr. Bacanovic to sell the stock when it fell to $60. Both pleaded not guilty.

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