NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
Peter Bacanovic, Martha Stewart's former broker at Merrill Lynch, has been sentenced to 5 months in prison on Friday for lying about a suspicious stock sale.
|Bacanovic, center, leaves court after being sentenced Friday.
A federal judge also imposed a $4,000 fine and ordered two years of probation.
"I deeply regret the sorrow this case has caused my family and friends," Bacanovic said in front of U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum before sentencing. "It's been a horrible ordeal for me and my family."
Bacanovic, 42, who ordered an assistant to tip Stewart that ImClone founder Sam Waksal was dumping all his ImClone shares back in late 2001, was found guilty along with Stewart in March of conspiracy, making false statements and obstruction of agency proceedings.
Earlier on Friday, Stewart was sentenced to five months in prison and fined $30,000. Stewart sold nearly 4,000 shares on Dec. 27, 2001.
While there were no criminal charges accusing Stewart and Bacanovic of insider trading, the government said they conspired to cover up the secret tip.
One legal expert said Bacanovic was fortunate to get the same sentence as Stewart.
"Peter Bacanovic actually engaged in more criminal activity than Martha Stewart did," CNN legal analyst Jeff Toobin said. "He not only lied to investigators, he tried to get his assistant, Doug Faneuil, to lie as well."
But he added that the court heard many pleas for leniency for Bacanovic and so the judge ended up giving the same sentence as Martha.
Both Stewart and Bacanovic will remain free while their lawyers appeal their convictions.
More than 250 letters were sent to Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum on Bacanovic's behalf, including from former professors, interns and a 9-year-old boy.
Bacanovic's lawyers asked that if he eventually does time, he be sent to a prison as close to the New York metropolitan area as possible.
Judge Cedarbaum said she would pass on the request to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
Faneuil, who pleaded guilty and testified that his former boss ordered him to pass an inside tip about ImClone to Stewart, is due to be sentenced next Friday.