NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
Some of the chips are starting to fall Martha Stewart's way.
Stewart is facing two cases. The first is a civil suit brought by shareholders claiming she and other officials from Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSO: up $0.18 to $10.00, Research, Estimates) sold $50 million in stock after the ImClone (IMCL: Research, Estimates) stock trading scandal broke.
The second trial is a criminal case brought by the government which has accused Stewart of conspiracy, securities fraud and obstruction of justice.
Normally, civil defendants are allowed to question witnesses before trial, but in Stewart's case, most of the witnesses will also appear in the criminal trial.
Government lawyers handling the criminal case requested that the judge presiding over the civil suit delay that trial amid fears that the questioning could impact the witnesses before the criminal trial begins.
The judge in the civil case rejected the government's request, giving Stewart's attorneys access to the witnesses.
Judge John Sprizzo also questioned the strength of the criminal case.
"I read this indictment. I tell you something ... we have seen a lot more serious obstruction cases. This is not the strongest obstruction case I have ever seen. This is not John Gotti," the judge said, according to a transcript of the pretrial hearing, referring to the notorious Mafia figure.