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Archive for Thursday, May 6, 2004

Briefcase

May 6, 2004

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Stewart loses bid for trial

A judge refused to grant Martha Stewart a new trial Wednesday, dismissing a long-shot appeal based on claims that a juror lied to conceal a bias against the celebrity homemaker.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum clears the way for a hearing next month at which Stewart could be sentenced to more than a year in prison for lying about a stock sale.

Stewart claimed juror Chappell Hartridge lied repeatedly on his jury questionnaire, including failing to disclose he had been arrested in a domestic dispute and accused of stealing money from a Little League group.

Whether or not the charges are true, Cedarbaum wrote, they do not meet the legal standard of showing the juror would have been excused for bias during jury selection.

Topeka

Cap Fed earnings tumble

Topeka-based Capitol Federal Financial announced Wednesday that its quarterly earnings dropped to 13 cents per share, down from 17 cents per share during the same period a year ago.

The company is the parent company of Capitol Federal Savings, which operates several banks in the Lawrence area.

Retail

Chicago council stalls Wal-Mart's growth plans

Plans by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to build two of its huge outlets in Chicago stalled Wednesday when the City Council, moved by the concerns of aldermen and hundreds of protesters, deferred action on zoning changes that would have allowed construction to begin.

A Wal-Mart spokesman, however, said the decision was not a defeat, and the company's push to build the stores would continue.

"It is an opportunity for Wal-Mart to continue to tell our story, that we do provide good salaries and benefits," said John Bisio, a Wal-Mart community affairs executive.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based chain is trying to build stores of about 150,000 square feet apiece in two Chicago neighborhoods. The move has run into fierce opposition from community leaders who contend Wal-Mart pays substandard salaries and will hurt established businesses.

Lawrence city commissioners also have blocked efforts by Wal-Mart to build a store at Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive.

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