Federal prosecutors have asked the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York to retain the bar on media coverage of jury selection in the Martha Stewart trial. News organizations will argue Monday to opoen the proceedings.
The New York Times quotes the prosecution as arguing that, “This case is unique even among high-profile cases. It is beyond cavil that Martha Stewart has become a household name in this country. At the same time, for reasons which themselves are the subject of much debate, Stewart has become to many people an object of either veneration or scorn.” The U.S. cited an NBC movie about Ms. Stewart, “Martha Inc.,” and prime-time television interviews.
Stewart has paid more than $1 million for a publicity campaign, including two television interviews late last year and a Web site telling her side of the story.
News organization attorneys argue the presence of Stewart herself is more potentially chilling than any reporter would be. Reporters have had to purchase transcripts to get information about the proceedings.
One potential juror, identified as Juror No. 48, had seen “Martha Inc.,” and said it had been a big influence. “It is a greed case,” said No. 48. “I don’t think that I would be fair. I think I would be – I am not even trying to be impartial. I think she is guilty.” The person was excused.