View Full Version : Martha is free

Mar 4th, 2005, 05:08 AM

Martha Stewart has been released from a West Virginia prison, nearly five months after being incarcerated for lying to investigators about a personal stock sale in late 2001. Stewart, 63, is now heading for the airport and will board a private plane bound for her home in Bedford, New York.

Martha is free
The celebrity homemaker bids good-bye to "Camp Cupcake"; heads for upstate New York home.
March 4, 2005: 12:58 AM EST
By Krysten Crawford, CNN/Money staff writer

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Martha Stewart, the lifestyle expert whose own life has been consumed by scandal in recent years, was released at 12:30 a.m. Friday from a prison in West Virginia.

Stewart spent the last five months at the minimum-security prison for women convicts in Alderson, W. Va. known as "Camp Cupcake."

Next week marks the one-year anniversary of Stewart's conviction on felony charges related to a personal stock sale. Last summer she was sentenced to five months in prison and five months of home detention, followed by two years of probation.

Stewart was due to fly on a chartered plane that will take her near her upstate New York estate. She will now wear an ankle monitor as she serves the home confinement portion of her sentence.

Stewart's official return to the public eye will be big news, and she apparently is ready to relish the moment.

Her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, planned to provide a flatbed truck so media images of her boarding her plane could be broadcast around the world, CNN learned earlier this week.

She was not expected to address the media, but would post a statement on her personal Web site upon her release, said a company spokeswoman.

It's a dramatic turnaround from last October when Stewart, a convicted felon, her image obviously bruised, slipped unnoticed into the minimum-security prison in Alderson, W. Va., known as "Camp Cupcake."

She could have stayed out of prison, possibly for good, if she had waited until a court ruled on her still-pending appeal. But she said she wanted to put the nearly three-year-old ordeal behind her, both for her sake and for that of her company, which has been bleeding money because of her legal woes.
The comeback kid?

Prison apparently has done wonders for Stewart. News reports have said she's lost weight and been a model prisoner. In the beginning she reached out to the public with letters posted on her Web site discussing her daily life behind bars, the bad prison food, and federal sentencing guidelines, which she thinks treat first-time offenders unfairly.

After making so many wrong moves throughout her criminal case, Stewart finally started making some right ones.

Marketing experts say the smartest of all was the decision to go to prison early, a sacrifice that signaled the beginning of the end of the whole debacle.

"In May 2002, if you asked me anything about Martha Stewart, all of my responses would have been positive," said marketing expert Robert Passikoff, referring to the early stages of the Stewart scandal.

But her open defiance after her 2003 indictment, as well as damaging testimony at trial, hurt her image considerably, Passikoff said. "It wasn't just that she was found guilty. She was also found to be mean-spirited."

By going to prison early, Stewart turned herself from "villain to victim," he said.

Hence, marketing experts said, the warm homecoming she's getting -- not just from the media, which has splashed Stewart all over newspapers and magazines all week, but also from her company, which not long ago seemed to be distancing herself from Martha.

Investors, too, are cheering. Stock in Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (Research) has more than quadrupled, to around $34, from the day she was sentenced last July. The shares are near their all-time high, a big boost for Stewart who still controls a majority of the company's stock.

But leaving Camp Cupcake doesn't mean Stewart's rehabilitation is over. For starters, she'll spend the next five months confined to her Bedford, N.Y. estate, wearing an electronic ankle bracelet. Stewart is allowed to leave her home for up to 48 hours a week for work reasons, but otherwise can't leave her house even to garden.

She's also required to check in regularly with her probation officer. She can't interact with other convicted felons.

Stewart's house arrest is due to end in August. After that, she will be on probation for another two years.

There's also much work to be done turning around her company, which just posted its second straight annual loss after losing advertisers, a television show, and investing in products minus Stewart's name, like "Everyday Food" magazine.

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia has already announced plans to have Stewart write a column for the company's flagship Martha Stewart Living magazine. Also filling up her schedule: She's scheduled to star in two television shows next fall and there are rumors of plans to launch a clothing line.

Stewart also faces a Securities and Exchange Commission insider trading case that seeks to bar her from serving as an officer or director of any public company, including her own. Rumors of a settlement that would allow Stewart to return to the helm of Martha Stewart Living were rampant last week.

Last but not least, there's the appeal of her conviction on four felony counts of lying and obstructing justice. Oral arguments are set for March 17, according to a source close to Stewart.

Mar 4th, 2005, 05:12 AM
:yeah: Martha

Mar 4th, 2005, 05:14 AM

Mar 4th, 2005, 05:44 AM

Mar 4th, 2005, 05:48 AM
I watched the whole thing live on MSNBC. Martha looked great :D

She was smiling (obviously :) ), and waved a few times for the media and a few well-wishers that were out there.

Mar 4th, 2005, 06:47 AM
Martha :D

Mar 4th, 2005, 08:59 AM
:eek: It walks around again :eek: Guard your money!


Mar 4th, 2005, 01:01 PM
You forgot "Hide your children" :p

Whew, now maybe my mom can find a new rant, "Martha's just a pasty" was getting old :lol:

Mar 4th, 2005, 01:33 PM
:eek: It walks around again :eek: Guard your money!

:lol: the world will never be safe again!

Mar 4th, 2005, 03:38 PM
:lol: the world will never be safe again!

:lol: Did I hear a call for death row there? ;)

Mar 4th, 2005, 04:09 PM
parole, it's a good thing :)

Mar 4th, 2005, 04:38 PM
Martha made 4.5 million a day while injail...gotta love the stock market..the very thing that took her down for a brief time has made her an even richer and more powerfull LADY during that time :eek: :worship: the queen :worship:

Mar 4th, 2005, 04:42 PM
Martha Stewart is like MacGuyver, and noone can replace her. I was very impressed when I saw Martha make a toy out of juices bottles. :eek:

Dave B
Mar 4th, 2005, 06:03 PM
I thought it was silly that she was in jail in the first place. I mean, technically she deserves it I guess, but for a small criminal offense you think that her iconic cultural status would grant her some slack.

VSFan1 aka Joshua L.
Mar 5th, 2005, 03:35 AM
Free At Last Free At Last!