It’s happened. Martha Stewart will likely be redecorating that jail cell–and counting the threads on her bunk sheet, maybe about 1,000 times–after all. Federal Judge Miriam Cederbaum slammed her this morning with five months in prison plus two years of supervised probation after her release.
I think the entire prosecution of Martha was a travesty, a vindication for bullying by federal prosecutors who have no substantive offenses to convict you on but want to get you on something–because you happened to save money on a stock transaction. I hope Martha wins her appeal, which will be based in part on the all-but-uncontrovertible evidence–that one of the prosecution witnesses lied. I’m in accord with National Review Online’s Myrna Blyth that Martha made many mistakes of arrogance and ungenerosity during her long and successful career, but breaking the law wasn’t one of them in the matter of her sale of ImClone shares that was the subject of her prosecution. (See Where Martha Stewart Went Wrong, July 15.)
Meanwhile, InkWell reader H.M. e-mails to defend Martha, warts and all:
“It wasn’t easy being Martha. She was the daughter of Polish immigrants. She parlayed her good looks into a job as a runway model to pay for her education at a good eastern school. And to move forward as successfully as she has done requires quite a bit of ego to stand up to the bruising marketplace forces–mostly egomaniacal men. Takes one to beat one. So, when she made a mistake of a paltry sum of less thant $40K, it was difficult for her to humble herself. It’s probably not something she’s done since she was 12. But she hired the lawyer and defended herself without any histrionics or Johnny Cochrane-type media circuses. She was dignified.”
I’d have hated to have been on the arrogant Martha’s payroll–but she didn’t deserve this. Best of luck on that appeal, Ms. Stewart!