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Stewart Attorneys Seek New Trial

Updated from 6:04 p.m. EST

Martha Stewart is seeking a new trial on grounds that one of the jurors in her case gave false answers on a jury selection questionnaire, according to a Reuters report.

The juror was identified in The Wall Street Journal's Web site as Chappell Hartridge.

Stewart's lawyers filed the necessary papers Wednesday in federal court in Manhattan. The papers state the juror failed to mention he had been arrested for assaulting a woman with whom he was living and had withheld information that he had been sued on at least three occasions, Reuters reported.

The defense lawyers contend that if they had been aware of that information, they would have challenged Hartridge's selection for the jury. The Stewart jury contained eight women and four men.

In order to appeal a conviction, defendants are generally required to first ask and be denied a retrial, so this could merely be Stewart's attorneys' first step in appealing her conviction on charges of conspiracy and making false statements to prosecutors.

Stewart was convicted March 5 of conspiring with former Merrill Lynch stockbroker Peter Bacanovic to hide the reason behind her timely sale of shares in biotech company ImClone Systems (IMCL) on Dec. 27, 2001. She was found guilty of one count of conspiracy, two counts of making false statements and one count of obstruction of agency proceedings.

On March 15, Stewart stepped down from the board of the company she founded, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSO).

Stewart's sentencing is scheduled for June 17.

Stewart's lawyers did not immediately return calls seeking comment. Federal prosecutor Michael Schachter, who tried Stewart's case, also was not immediately available for comment.

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