A Mrs. Perfect Crime


Martha Stewart gets sentenced: five months jail plus five months home confinement, and a $30,000 fine.

For some thoughts on why this is a miscarriage of justice, see this Reason cover feature from Oct. 2003 by Michael McMenamin, and for a shorter take this USA Today op-ed by me.

NEXT: On Not Getting Fooled Again

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  1. MSO shot up over thirty percent after the sentencing and after her performance in front of the courthouse…and what a performance!

    I’m paraphrasing, but the gist was – I don’t want to use this to promote my magazine, but, really, if you want to support me, go out and buy my magazine – it was beautiful.

    I wish her all the best of luck in her appeal.

  2. I want to know, does the judge see the irony of giving her house arrest?

  3. Martha was found guilty of lying to the government. Ha! If every government official who lied to us went to jail, we might have much less government….Hmmm

  4. Thank God this menace to society is off the streets. We can all breathe a little easier. I, for one, feel safer already.

  5. Even I, who believe she committed a crime and should face consequences, cannot believe she’s getting jail time for this. You should see the window smashers and scumbag landlords who walk out of court with a harsh talking-to. Unbelievable.

  6. now it’s time to wait for those all-knowing conservative assholes who stink up this board to come up with the usual lameass process they call thinking: “duhhh, well, she, duhhhh, commmmitttteeeddd a crime. duhhhh. she deserves to be punished. duhhhh. when did you libertoids think corporate fraud is okay. duhhhhh.”

    fucking asshats.

  7. I was amazed by MSO’s stock performance today.

    She was expected to get 10-15 months, she got 5.

    That difference caused a 36% jump. What’s up with that?

  8. Bill G.,

    In the short run, I don’t think the market is rational. I just think it’s more rational than the other options.

  9. James,

    Great stuff! Vaclav Havel also did time before becoming president of the Czech Republic.

  10. I suspect that whatever goodwill she may have gained since her trial will dissipate if she insists on making these clueless comments, like the Nelson Mandela reference above, or saying none of the “little people” were hurt. If she keeps it up some of us Lilliputians might just go back to regarding her as the same old giant bitch we always thought she was.

  11. Bill G,

    Even in the short run, the market seemed rational on this one. The stock had a large drop on related bad news and also the sentence takes some uncertainty out of the situation.

    The minimum sentence seems to vindicate her a bit and since the product line is closely identified with her image this is a good thing for MSO. And, as Ken Shultz observed, Martha pitched her brains out for MSO after court.

  12. On the radio, I heard snippets of an interview between Barbara Walters and Martha Stewart. Mrs. S suggested that she could stick out her 5-mo. sentence because, for example, Nelson Mandela was in jail for many years.

    If she likens her situation to Nelson Mandela’s — that of political prisoner — then she may very well be looking forward to having her story end as his did. President Stewart, anyone?

    This makes me wonder: If Martha goes down that road, will it become trendy for future presidential runs to begin with a jail term?

    Heaven knows, we’re unlikely ever to see a Presidential term be FOLLOWED by a jail term, however well deserved. If and when Martha ever gets to the White House, she won’t have to worry about little things like lying in court (Slick Willie), or misleading the public into sacrificing shock-and-awe-inspiring amounts of blood and treasure for little or no worthwhile return (“W.”).

    Go Martha Go!

  13. “Stewart’s sin? She sold some stock, apparently at the advice of her broker.”

    No. Stewart’s sin was that she lied to investigators. Tortured arguments in defense of insider trading miss the point completely.

  14. Uh, MisterPickle, no one is defending insider trading, because Martha never committed insider trading. She was not in any sort of fiduciary position with regard to ImClone. She was convicted of covering up a non-crime. You might want to actually read some of Reason’s news coverage on this point.

  15. ImClone officers’ family members aren’t in a fiduciary position either, but they’re barred from engaging in insider trading on tips from corporate officers, too. As a former stockbroker herself, Stewart knew exactly what she was doing and knew exactly what she was covering up. The size of the fine and the relatively short prison sentence seem about appropriate to me. Multimillion-dollar fines or locking her up for years would not. YMMV.

  16. If I had more than a couple of hours a day to spend on blogging I would. But, I’m not certain that I would enjoy it as much. I’m concerned that if you paid a lawyer to blog forty hours a week, that you would end up with law.com or findlaw. Don’t get me wrong. Those are excellent legal resources

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