Martha Stewart and Peter Bacanovic will hear their punishments at different times Friday

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated July 14, 2004 08:00 AM

Rather than sentencing Martha Stewart and her former stockbroker, Peter Bacanovic, together on Friday, Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum will deliver their fate 4 1/2 hours apart, as requested by Bacanovic.

“We want to be considered separately,” the ex-Merrill Lynch employee’s spokesman, Lou Colasuonno, tells the New York Post. “We want to be alone – we felt we could get a better chance at a fair hearing.”

The rep stressed that in no way was this to be interpreted as a break between Bacanovic, 41, and the domestic diva, 63, who in March were convicted of lying to federal investigators looking into her sale of ImClone stock.

“This is not a split between Martha and Peter,” says Colasuonno, adding that during the high-profile trial, in which Stewart starred, “we were second-class citizens.”

Stewart will hear her punishment at 10 a.m. Friday in the Manhattan federal courtroom. Bacanovic will hear his at 2:30 p.m. Legal experts say Stewart and Bacanovic are each expected to serve between 10 and 16 months in prison.

And in other news of the notable case, New York’s Daly News reports that someone sent a poison-pen letter to Judge Cedarbaum, suggesting a stiff sentence for Stewart. The current wife of Stewart’s ex-husband, publisher Andy Stewart, reputedly signed the letter.

Robyn Fairclough, the current Mrs. Stewart, flatly denies that she wrote such a letter to Cedarbaum. “It’s really wild,” she tells the paper, “and it’s very upsetting.”