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AMERICAN MORNING

Martha Stewart Trial

Aired January 21, 2004 - 09:16   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Martha Stewart's trial is under way today again as lawyers for both sides spent a second day quizzing potential jurors -- a long day yesterday. The word inside the courtroom is that the trial will get under way next week.
For more, outside the courthouse, here is Debra Feyerick in lower Manhattan.

Deb -- good morning there.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Bill.

Well, about a dozen men and women were interviewed yesterday, one step closer to being on the jury. The judge gave them the green light to move up to the next round. Fifty more people will be questioned today, again an attempt to narrow down the potential jury pool. Then defense attorneys and prosecutors are going to have their chance to try to choose the 12 most sensitive jurors and six alternates -- those they think will give them the best outcome.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FEYERICK (voice-over): With a small wave, Martha Stewart said good morning to dozens of photographers outside federal court. Then, standing before the judge, she again pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy, obstructing justice, and securities fraud.

After that, it was jury time. Stewart and her lawyers, introduced by the judge to three dozen potential jurors, each being questioned separately in the judge's robing room. It's a lengthy process, the judge declaring patience as a virtue, especially for judges and lawyers.

A source close to Stewart's legal team says Stewart has been hands-on preparing her defense. Her lawyers are running focus groups to find out what potential jurors might think of Martha and the accusations against her.

DAN KRASNER, WOLF & HALDENSTEIN: The defense has clearly got to take into consideration how she will appear on the stand to the jury, and whether they can soften her personality for the jury so that she comes out to be more sympathetic.

FEYERICK: Jury experts say softening Stewart's perfect image can't hurt, but prosecutors claim two pieces of evidence could be key. The first, Stewart's phone logs that she allegedly changed the day her broker's assistant called about ImClone stock. Second, an order form allegedly altered by the broker after investigators began looking into Stewart's sale of 4,000 ImClone shares a day before the stock tanked. Stewart and her broker maintain their innocence.

JACK COFFEE, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: The government, I think, has a very telling bit of evidence that she was changing her telephone logs and Mr. Bacanovic was making apparently later entries in different ink on his Merrill Lynch order form.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FEYERICK: Now, of course, Stewart and Bacanovic's lawyers are going to attempt to slap down that evidence. They're going to do that as likely as -- as early as next week, most likely when opening statements are set to get under way -- Bill.

HEMMER: Deb Feyerick, thanks, in lower Manhattan.

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