Archive for Saturday, April 2, 2005

Prosecutors urge judge to keep Stewart sentence

April 2, 2005


— Mocking Martha Stewart's claim that home confinement is damaging to her business, federal prosecutors urged a judge Friday to make no changes to her sentence for lying about a stock sale.

"Minor inconvenience to one's ability to star in a television show is an insufficient ground for resentencing," prosecutor Michael Schachter wrote in a six-page letter to Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum.

Stewart asked the judge last week to cut short her five-month term of house arrest. She has served about a month confined to her Westchester County estate, after spending five months in a federal prison in West Virginia.

The homemaking maven said serving the rest of her sentence would hamper production of her two upcoming television series -- a daytime talk show and a new rendition of NBC's "The Apprentice."

She also has complained in a Web chat that the electronic-monitoring bracelet she must wear during house arrest is unwieldy and chafes her skin.

Prosecutors argued the sentence was lenient, and that Stewart, who has suggested she was prosecuted for being a woman and a celebrity, "has shown no remorse and accepted no responsibility for her crimes."

As evidence that Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia has hardly suffered at all, prosecutors noted its stock price soared from $8.70 per share after her conviction to $37 per share while she was behind bars.

Stewart is allowed to leave the estate 48 hours per week for work; she asked the judge either to end the house arrest early or allow her to leave for work 80 hours per week.

Cedarbaum has the option of granting Stewart a new sentencing hearing or rejecting the request outright.

Stewart and stockbroker Peter Bacanovic were convicted in March 2004 for lying about why Stewart sold 3,928 shares of ImClone Systems stock in December 2001, just before a negative government decision on an ImClone drug.

Bacanovic is serving time at a federal prison in Nevada. Both are appealing their convictions.

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