CNN/Money (NEW YORK) - For the second time in more than two weeks, a federal judge has delayed the sentencing date for Martha Stewart and her former broker Peter Bacanovic, according to a court clerk.
Stewart and Bacanovic, who were convicted in March on obstruction of justice charges, were due to be sentenced July 8. They are now scheduled to be sentenced on July 16.
Prosecutors said Friday that Martha Stewart's lawyers had requested the postponement.
"A one-week delay is unremarkable," said David Meister, a former federal prosecutor now in private practice with Clifford Chance in New York. "Sentences are delayed all the time."
The shuffling comes as Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum weighs motions for a new trial submitted earlier this month by defense lawyers for Stewart and Bacanovic. They are seeking a new trial on the grounds that the jury was tainted by a key government witness who allegedly perjured himself on the stand.
Prosecutors have formally opposed the request for a new trial. In court papers filed late Thursday, lawyers from the U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan argued that the witness accused of giving false testimony was not central to Stewart and Bacanovic's convictions, rendering a new trial unnecessary.
Indeed, Bacanovic was acquitted on a separate charge of falsifying a document that was the basis for the testimony by Larry Stewart, an ink expert at the Secret Service. Larry Stewart is not related to Martha Stewart.
But the question of whether Martha Stewart, the founder of arts and crafts empire Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, deserves a new trial isn't so cut and dried.
Some former prosecutors say that Larry Stewart's testimony was important to the government's contention that Martha Stewart and Bacanovic were engaged in a cover-up after regulators launched an insider trading probe of some of her personal stock sales in late 2001.
Both Stewart and Bacanovic were found guilty of conspiring to hinder the government investigation.
Judge Cedarbaum delayed the July 8 sentencing hearing by 8 days in response from a request from Stewart attorney Robert Morvillo, reported CNNfn, citing a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney. Morvillo presumably wanted extra time to respond to the government's lengthy motion opposing Stewart's request for a new trial.
Defense lawyers have also asked for a court hearing to determine what prosecutors may have known about Larry Stewart's alleged perjury leading up to and during his time on the stand. If they can show that prosecutors knew, or should have known, that Larry Stewart's testimony was false, that would boost Martha's odds for winning a new trial.