Martha Stewart Opts to Serve Prison Sentence

Sep 15, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Martha Stewart abandoned her quest for a new trial Wednesday, saying she would rather start her prison sentence as soon as possible in order to “reclaim my life” and “quickly return to the life I know.”

The news of Ms. Stewart’s decision to begin serving her sentence for obstruction of justice in connection with a 2001 stock sale sent shares in her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, surging more than 10 percent Wednesday to $12.35 a share.

By ending her push for a new trial Ms. Stewart will learn fairly soon where she will serve a five-month sentence in federal prison. She had hoped to serve it in Danbury, Conn., but that facility has no vacancies at present. After her prison term, she will serve a five-month stint of house arrest.

While she maintained that there was sufficient grounds for a new trial, she said a series of delays would push the appeals process well into 2005. By agreeing to start her jail term now, she said she hoped to be out federal custody by March.

Ms. Stewart was convicted of lying to investigators and obstruction of justice in connection with a sale of ImClone Systems shares in late 2001.

There was no word whether her broker, Peter Bacanovic, who also was slapped with the same sentence for his role in the sale, was following suit.