Martha Stewart Guilty.
March 5, 2004 12:29 PM   Subscribe

Martha Stewart Guilty
posted by ben-o (63 comments total)
What will her punishment be? As that is usually the focus after being found guilty.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:34 PM on March 5, 2004

Stewart, 62, was found guilty of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and two counts of making false statements – charges that together carry a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
posted by ben-o at 12:36 PM on March 5, 2004

Wonder if K-mart will stick with her.
posted by scalz at 12:36 PM on March 5, 2004

She will be sentenced to wear stripes and patterns together for five years.
posted by me3dia at 12:36 PM on March 5, 2004

What will her punishment be? As that is usually the focus after being found guilty.

Ten bucks says you'll see it tomorrow on MetaFilter.
posted by hama7 at 12:37 PM on March 5, 2004

And so is ben-o... guilty of making a crummy post.

Sorry, thought it was worthy. Personally I (and most folks I know) thought that she'd find a way to get off with a slap on the wrist, so I was somewhat surprised.
posted by ben-o at 12:40 PM on March 5, 2004

Do you remember where you were when you heard that Martha was guitly?
posted by eastlakestandard at 12:41 PM on March 5, 2004

And so is ben-o... guilty of making a crummy post.

<sarcasm>But ben-o's recipe for grilled prawns with orange glaze and his new line of linens for K-Mart are both excellent.</sarcasm>

But seriously, I feel sorry for Martha Stewart and hope that she is only given a minimal sentence.
posted by Stoatfarm at 12:42 PM on March 5, 2004

"A jury found Martha Stewart guilty on all four counts against her in her obstruction of justice trial Friday and is expected to serve prison time."

Hee. Sounds like the jury is expected to serve prison time. Where do they get these so-called writers?
posted by swerve at 12:49 PM on March 5, 2004

I wonder how many people have done exactly what she did and have gotten away with it totally. I'd rather see them fine her in the amount she gained from the sale and use the money for charity rather than put her in jail.
posted by konolia at 12:50 PM on March 5, 2004

I found something to agree with konolia on, except possibly the amount (I'd make it much steeper.) Jailing non-violent offenders serves no purpose which couldn't be better served with other means.
posted by callmejay at 12:56 PM on March 5, 2004

thomcatspike and me3dia: you are both funny.
posted by carter at 1:03 PM on March 5, 2004

oh knit! the whole world is swatching.
posted by Peter H at 1:05 PM on March 5, 2004

you'd like to think this would be a beacon to others who think their celebrity, public reputation and money will save them no matter what... but ah, fuck it, who am i kidding.

she did something wrong, got caught, lied to the courts, and subsequently convicted across the board and now she's going to spend some time (eventually) monograming toaster cozies in her cell. that being said, i'm really surprised she didn't skate on all 4 charges.
posted by jerseygirl at 1:07 PM on March 5, 2004

NEW YORK (AP) -- Minutes after it was announced that style setter and media executive Martha Stewart had been convicted of crimes relating to her sale of a pharmaceutical stock, thousands of angry New Yorkers flooded into the streets to protest the verdict. Although difficult to estimate, police said the number of protestors numbered into the "tens of thousands."

It appeared that the crowd was almost exclusively white, middle-aged and female. Many carried home-made picket signs, stenciled and tastefully bordered in lace. Others used their Hermes handbacks to beat back police attempting to control the crowd.

One Fifth Avenue protestor, who asked not to be identified, described the verdict as an "outrage": "This verdict is a miscarriage of justice. Martha has been persecuted, not prosecuted, because common people are intimidated by her ability to sew, bake, and garden."

There have been no reports of serious injuries, although one protestor did claim her shoes were "ruined" after she stepped in a puddle.

posted by pardonyou? at 1:07 PM on March 5, 2004

The problem with only fining her a fixed amount of money is that you then make fraud into just another investment vehicle.

Risky, sure, but with a potentially high upside! You could probably build derivatives off of it.
posted by vacapinta at 1:07 PM on March 5, 2004

I can give no fewer than two purple shits about martha stewart,
posted by mcsweetie at 1:11 PM on March 5, 2004

pardonyou wins for best news posting
posted by Peter H at 1:12 PM on March 5, 2004

I'll bet she'll brew some amazing pruno.
posted by jonmc at 1:12 PM on March 5, 2004

Where's Ken Lay?

Hiding out in Cheney's bunker?

Why hasn't he even been indicted?

Geez, Martha had zero impact on others while practically anyone who had a 401k was negatively impacted by this crook. Not to mention the employees who lost both their jobs and life savings. And then there's those S&L crooks still walking around free ... Party affiliation matters.
posted by nofundy at 1:16 PM on March 5, 2004

You know this is as good a place as any to bring this up. I remember watching her show one morning. From the neck up she's this overly made up lady. Really severe details but still feminine. Sort of like a hot Beatrice Arthur.

But then they panned in close, to her hands, kneading the bread. I noticed something horrifying. I'd seen those hands before, and they weren't on a woman.

Martha Stewart has my grandfather's hands! Long work-worn masculine grandfather hands! It was like finding the adam's apple on a transvestite. I could never look at Martha Stewart again, not since I noticed she has my grandfather's hands.

I'm sure they'll do her well in the big house.
posted by Peter H at 1:20 PM on March 5, 2004

I'd rather see them fine her in the amount she gained from the sale and use the money for charity rather than put her in jail.

does she deserve special treatment because of... what, exactly?

the legal system is usually pretty harsh on the poor, the non-priviliged and the non-white. for once, there is the chance that someone famous from a usually-very-privileged social group will get a taste of the legal system's medicine. for once.

she's not a bad person? probably. neither are many people currently rotting in jail for various drug offenses, people who by the way never had the help of Stewart's millionaire lawyers. society decided long ago that drug users are criminals, not sick persons in need of medical care instead of punishment.

stock fraud is serious stuff. not to mention, it's hard to argue that Stewart did it to feed her family after getting laid off during an economic downturn or something

of course the irony of Martha Stewart going to jail and Kenny Lay being free as the proverbial bird does not escape me. but still.

evil fucker as I am, I usually save my compassion for more deserving individuals
posted by matteo at 1:20 PM on March 5, 2004

ha ha

(from the link, i especially like "laundry room")
posted by Peter H at 1:25 PM on March 5, 2004

This is not a good thing. Heh.
posted by pyramid termite at 1:29 PM on March 5, 2004

No sympathy, no compassion. She knew what she was doing was illegal, and so did her broker. She either A) figured she'd never get caught or B) figured she was too "big" to go down. The only thing separating her from that yucky Leona Helmsley, to my mind, is poise. Leona thought the law was for the "little people." Martha was too polished to say so out loud.

Get your schadenfruede ON!!!!
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 1:29 PM on March 5, 2004

Welcome to Danbury, Connecticut. Enjoy your stay!
(I'm just guessing, but this is one of the only federal minimum-security facilities for women, and this is where Leona Helmsley ended up.)
posted by PrinceValium at 1:33 PM on March 5, 2004

stock fraud is serious stuff. not to mention, it's hard to argue that Stewart did it to feed her family after getting laid off during an economic downturn or something

she may have needed that 40K to buy a new bread oven.
god knows she needed to improve her Focaccia con olive pane.

send her to jail i say
posted by clavdivs at 1:36 PM on March 5, 2004

Personally I (and most folks I know) thought that she'd find a way to get off with a slap on the wrist

Well, wait for sentencing. She probably still will.
posted by scarabic at 1:48 PM on March 5, 2004

This was bound to show up on MeFi and I've been looking forward to the discussion.

Stewart knew exactly what she was doing and I love, love, love the fact that she broke the law to save $100K and her empire took a more than $600 Million hit. She's an ex-broker, anyone arguing that she didn't know what was happening is blind to the truth. She flaunted the law and now she's got to pay!

She should go to prison, she should be served up like a tasty and artfully decorated sacrificial lamb. Maybe she'll spin it into a new career. I don't know and I really don't care, she'll still have far more money than I'll ever sniff in my life once she's free after serving her little term in the pokey

And then somebody ought to go after the other shyster crooked bastards like Ken Lay, John Rigas and Dick Cheney.
posted by fenriq at 2:04 PM on March 5, 2004

So if Martha is going to get 20 years for dumping stock off a tip to gain an extra 100k, then what should happen to people that systematically embezzle ten or a hundred times that much (or more) and get away with it? Is this the Stalin "one & you're a murderer, a million & you're a god" mindset?

(Ken Lay, Dennis Kozlowski, I'm looking at you.)

Where's their pound-me-in-the-ass prison?

[on preview: add my list to fenriq's.]
posted by chicobangs at 2:18 PM on March 5, 2004

This is pretty funny, too:

Stewart Dumps Stock Just Before Guilty Verdicts

(2004-02-27) -- Despite the heartache sparked by four guilty verdicts today, Martha Stewart left a New York City courtroom with a spring in her step.

"Of course, I'm saddened by the prospect of 20 years in prison," said Ms. Stewart, "but just before the jury announced the verdict, I text-messaged my broker with a sell order for all of my shares of Martha Stewart Living OmniMedia (MSO). I just had a feeling about it. As it turns out, the stock took a dive minutes later. I guess I'm just lucky."

posted by pardonyou? at 2:20 PM on March 5, 2004

does she deserve special treatment because of... what, exactly?

No, I just don't want my taxpayer dollars supporting her in the grey-bar hotel.

But I did forget she'd been a stockbroker. So yes, she should have known better.

Actually, some time in prison with the hoi polloi might actually, seriously, be good for her.

I still would rather her be fined up the wazoo. That money could do a lot of good channeled to the right places.
posted by konolia at 2:26 PM on March 5, 2004

Won't you join us for,

Martha's new digs - Decorating Martha Stewart's Jail Cell
posted by jdaura at 2:27 PM on March 5, 2004

She flaunted the law

Lord knows I hate a teaser.
posted by yerfatma at 2:34 PM on March 5, 2004

I wonder how many people have done exactly what she did and have gotten away with it totally.

So what. People get away with murder and rape, but that doesn't mean we should pay any less attention those we catch. She committed a crime. She should be punished for her crime... not NOT punished because others haven't been.
posted by Witty at 2:54 PM on March 5, 2004

So what is a question?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:49 PM on March 5, 2004

a) Stewart will at most get 18-24 months in the pen based on federal sentencing guidelines.

b) The prosecutors are building a case against Kenny Boy, just in the last few weeks they took down another high level Enron exec and when he turns state's evidence Lay will get his turn at the dock.
posted by billsaysthis at 5:03 PM on March 5, 2004

c) konolia, you could not within our current system fine Stewart enough dollars so that she would feel it, so fuggedabodit!
posted by billsaysthis at 5:04 PM on March 5, 2004

hama7-- I'll take that action. Sentencing won't happen for a few months.

tharlan - Right you are. Will we hear more tomorrow, or do we have to rock it Paypal™ style?
posted by hama7 at 5:09 PM on March 5, 2004

She fought the law, and the law won!
posted by tommasz at 5:18 PM on March 5, 2004

I can get down with the jokes and the schadenfreude but, to tell the truth, I tend to agree with what Doug Hendwood wrote in the Nation last month--

Why Martha? Though most people think she's charged with insider trading, she's not. She's charged with conspiracy, obstruction of justice, lying to federal prosecutors and securities fraud--charges for which she could do serious time if convicted. And the original trade that gave rise to all this trouble was probably not illegal in itself...

Though she has millions of fans, Martha is not broadly loved. She was voted the seventh most annoying person of 2003 on the website (falling between Osama bin Laden and Jacques Chirac). More rigorously, Gallup reports that 55 percent of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of the Diva of Domesticity, and just 36 percent a favorable one. There's little doubt that this dislike contributed to her indictment, and to the widespread assumptions of her guilt.

Why the resentment? As one young fan recently pointed out to me, it's because she severely confuses our gender codes. She invaded the traditionally male turf of big business, but her business is based on "skills that were supposed to be girly and stay-at-home." Yet while she "plays the über-homemaker, she isn't charming or warm. She's cold and efficient and a little awkward. She's not marketing the warmth and the comfort of the home, she's showing how it's like a business or a machine. That's not so easy to like, and it makes her scarier, to men especially."

Those are not good reasons to send someone to jail. But, more broadly, why are insider trading and related transgressions often treated more severely than defrauding retirees, lying to stockholders or, more prosaically, running a dangerous workplace? The only obvious victim of Martha's alleged crime is the public's perception of the fairness of the stock market. The authorities would love to preserve the illusion that everyone is equal, and that the rich and well connected have no special advantage over the masses. But that's absolute nonsense. Though people on the left often cheer the prosecution of insider trading (which, remember, is something Stewart isn't even accused of), there's nothing particularly progressive about preserving the illusion of Wall Street's fairness. It is, therefore, in the interests of both individual justice and political clarity that Martha be found innocent.

posted by y2karl at 5:38 PM on March 5, 2004

Doug Henwood, to be sure.
posted by y2karl at 5:39 PM on March 5, 2004

Geez, Martha had zero impact on others while practically anyone who had a 401k was negatively impacted by this crook.
I disagree - I think Martha had a SERIOUS although indirect impact on what confidence people have in the integrity and "perfect information" in the market. It comes as no real surprise when executives like Skilling, Lay, Kozlowski, et. al. pull this kind of shit. It may be jaded but it's not shocking. But Stewart was different, people invited her into their homes, used her bath towels to dry them off, cooked her recipes, etc. There is a trust factor with her, and she violated it, and should pay a price.

And so is ben-o... guilty of making a crummy post.
posted by item at 12:36 PM PST on March 5

Hey item, is this what passes for courtesy in fucktown? Chump.
posted by vito90 at 5:49 PM on March 5, 2004

she severely confuses our gender codes

I was just showing up to link to that article, y2karl, but you beat me. It's the best explanation I've seen of why many people can't stand Martha. I tend to agree with Henwood as well.
posted by LeLiLo at 7:56 PM on March 5, 2004

Feh the trust factor of Martha may have been 100, but she we'll be quickly replaced by another nice face , it's just history repeating. Of course, if she indeed as many think is really guilty of insider trading and not "only" of obstruction of justice, the punishment would be very welcome, but probably ineffective at scaring the hell out of insider traders. Catching one is nothing, routinely catching many would scare.

But Enron...the money involved and the implications (not only political) are very deep , but probably people only remember Lay contributions to Bush, while the big big story is that Enron was very in bed with Arthur Andersen LLP : in layman terms, it's like being best pal with the indipendant judge that is supposed to check if your stealing from company coffers (that is the same as stealing from stockholders,workers,contractors etc).

Give a look at Finlaw coverage of Enron case : among the most recent additions to their growing list of links we find that Andrew Fastow former chief financial officer of Enron (meaning that he had enormous powers over Enron money and financials assets) pleaded guilty [PDF] on January 2004.

He agreed to give back assets "valued" at around U$ 23 Million (a drop in the sea probably) and he faces at worst 10 year imprisonment , at least 2 years in jail.

Obviously, if you steal an apple, you'll be sentenced to life imprisonment.

Oh but it's not like it's going to happen again, you think ?

Think again it's already happening, Parmalat scandal auditors seem to be Andersen clones.
posted by elpapacito at 7:57 PM on March 5, 2004

I still can't figure out how anything she did meets the common sense definition of a crime. Her stock broker told her to sell her stock. She did. I have never had a stock broker, preferring to blow my money in Vegas instead, but my experience is that stock brokers get clients by convincing them they are better off following the broker's advice on things like when to buy and when to sell. If that is illegal, we should throw the whole industry in prison. Frankly I would have no problem with that. Throwing Stewart to the wolves in this fashion, while Bush and Cheneys buddies will probably skate, strikes me as a bait and switch.

A more cynical theory, stems from the one thing about Stewart that I felt kind of connected me to her, we are both Polish. Same with the Tyco guy. So the moral is its ok to rip off millions in the stock market, just as long you are not Pol . . . ahhh forget it.
posted by MetalDog at 8:41 PM on March 5, 2004

I wonder how many people have done exactly what she did and have gotten away with it totally.

"How many people have committed murder and gotten away with it totally?" What kind of argument is that?
posted by rushmc at 9:07 PM on March 5, 2004

I agree with Vito90, though from a different aspect. Her actions directly affected people and institutions who held her stock. That's the problem with investing in a personalitly. Secondly, wasn't it obstruction of justice she was convicted of, not insider trading? It wasn't her stock sale, but her actions afterwards which got her in trouble.
posted by Eekacat at 1:08 AM on March 6, 2004

I wonder how many people have done exactly what she did and have gotten away with it totally.

"How many people have committed murder and gotten away with it totally?" What kind of argument is that?

Indeed, Why don't you go and lick her crotch. I'm sure she'd give you 50 or 75 cents for the effort. Well worth your while.
posted by HTuttle at 2:53 AM on March 6, 2004

HTuttle: what?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:45 AM on March 6, 2004

Lick her crotch? What what what?

Meanwhile, on another channel, a quote from someone near and dear to me made while listening to public radio talk radio on Martha Stewart's conviction - "I'm so fucking sick of pasty white men blabbering about how they're so happy that a successful woman got busted for some puny little crime that thousands of people do every day. Maybe their shrivelled little nuts are threatened by powerful women."

With infinite resources and time, the US Justice Dept. could do a comprehensive trolling of the entire US population for suspected crimes.

Then - since everyone has committed numerous crimes, at least small ones anyway, but only half would panic and lie about it to prosecutors - we could put at least half of ourselves in jail. I bet it would be great for the economy, with all those open job slots, and we could make all the new inmates work at slave wages to make cheap K-Mart Martha Stewart-In-Jail brand composition board computer furniture and coach pillows in pleasing hues of salmon and sea foam green.
posted by troutfishing at 7:07 AM on March 6, 2004

"I'd rather see them fine her in the amount she gained from the sale and use the money for charity rather than put her in jail." - Konolia, that's mighty Christian of you. 'Been neglecting your Old Testament lately? (just kidding). I tend to agree, Gnostic or animist or whatever that I am, but with a twist - Solomonic justice.

I think they should give Stewart the choice of 1) jail time or 2) the donation of 50% of the profits from Martha Stewart living for perpetuity. What would she choose?

This punishment would put true fear in the hearts of financial wrongdoers everywhere.


"Though she has millions of fans, Martha is not broadly loved..... " (from y2Karl's quote above, halfway or so up the thread)

She's a bitch! A ballbuster! A witch! - Tie rocks to her legs and throw her in water to she if she floats! Dose her with kerosine and light at match! If she's a witch, she won't burn!


Per Konolia (again!....) I think jail might actually be good for Stewart.

But what really pinches my nuts and makes me howl like the claw of a mean 20lb lobster is the din of jabbering talking heads - blabbering and flubbering until the spittle pools around the pants down around their ankles for the interns delivering supplicatory blow jobs - about the question of how Martha Stewart Living/OmniMedia could possibly survive while Stewart assembles tea cozies - with blunt scissors and elmer's glue - in prison.

I would find it no more or less pleasant if the punditeratti would just jamb their asses up against their microphones and comment by flapping their flabby cheeks by breaking wind.

Dolts. Cretins. Martha Stewart can run her empire by proxy, like the Mafia Dons of old. She'll have a phone and a high speed internet hookup in her swank minimum security prison and - even if not - she's wealthy enough to commission her own television show, Who wants to be Martha Stewart for a Year™

There are tens, no hundreds of thousands of Martha Stewart wannabees out there milling about and pining to be herself, the maven of Good Taste, the UberHostess, The MARTHA!

They can bash it out, survivor style, for a few months. Careers will be made. OmniMedia shares will go through the roof. Then, in a surprise conclusion, Who wants to be Martha Stewart for a Year™ (this idea is MINE, MINE!) will select it's queen, THE MARTHA and Lo! - she will have a "court" as well, the top contenders. They will all contribute, with THE MARTHA at the pinnacle, to officiate the bounds of pleasant god taste. The real martha, from jail, will make all the actual, hardheaded business decisions. THE MARTHA and her "court" will contrive products and select color palettes (based on formulas written by - who else? - the real Martha).

The marketing campaign for this brilliant counterattack will win the hearts of women everywhere - Martha Stewart Living - by women just like you!

Are you listening, martha? It's a turkey shoot - there's no time to waste! Take their bitter pill, and double your money. Along the way you can become "born again" - in the classic fashion of imprisoned right wing American politicians - and announce that, now that you've got Jesus in your life, you are donating fifty million dollars of your money to found the "Ethics in Business and Government Legal Foundation" which will hound revolving-door business-government separation transgressions as well as securities fraud and insider trading : and this will, more than anyone else, mean a hounding of those Bushistas who saw fit to bust you in the first place. Don't get mad, get even. C'mon, Martha. I know you're smart enough to get on board.
posted by troutfishing at 8:11 AM on March 6, 2004

I don't know trout, this "Lifestyle of the Rich and Felons" thing does not really strike me as good business.
but what do I know
posted by matteo at 8:21 AM on March 6, 2004

I Forgot to mention the political ad campaign, by :

The chastened Martha Stewart, softened and redeemed by religion, will explain (shedding a sorrowful yet somehow joyous tear) - "Everyone lies - the humble and the most powerful - everyone lies sometimes. But - with the help of God, we can come clean about our lies, our sins, our transgressions. I lied and committed a crime, and a sin - and I ask for forgiveness, from you and from God. I think that everyone - in business and politics alike - should come clean about their lies. And - as an expression of my new faith - I am donating a part of my wealth to found a legal and research institute which will work to ensure ethical behavior and honesty in business and at the highest reaches of government, to encourage everyone, and especially the wealthiest and most powerful, to come clean and admit their lies - as I have done. All of those who really have welcomed God into their hearts will find the strength, as I have found the strength, to be honest."

No pointing of fingers, no names.
posted by troutfishing at 8:28 AM on March 6, 2004

Matteo - Many dislike the woman, but many, many women admire Martha Stewart as well - and they do so irregardless of their economic status. This gambit would enable millions of these women to feel a sense of participation and ownership in the company. Americans don't resent wealth per se - only it's abuse.

And further - think of it this way - the gambit could count on tens of millions (at least) of free advertising via media publicity. I think the prosecution of Stewart was an intentional circus and my sense of it is : if some want a circus, a circus can be provided, but on rather different terms. This would be a type of political and business Aikido or Judo whereby one's opponent's attack is diverted and it's energy turned against them - as the force and direction of the lunge exposes weakness.
posted by troutfishing at 8:38 AM on March 6, 2004

Also, this is perhaps a quintessentially American theme - of individual transcendence of the past and of personal redemption. Americans have great sympathy for the sincerely repentant sinner. Everyone sins, but it takes guts to admit one's own. I can think of no one better situated in place and time for such a stunning transformation.....than Martha Stewart.

If she, the ice queen, can honestly look into her heart....then there is salvation for all.
posted by troutfishing at 8:46 AM on March 6, 2004

Not bad Troutfishing, not bad.
posted by MetalDog at 9:34 AM on March 6, 2004

Or maybe she'll spend all of her time in the hoosegow organizing her Legions of Doom and plotting how she'll Show Them All! BWA HA HA!

Martha strikes me as a tough cookie. Don't assume she'll crumble.
posted by SPrintF at 9:38 AM on March 6, 2004

SPrintF - Same thing. I don't expect her to crumble. I'm hoping, in fact, she'll see the wisdom of my suggestions. Redemption is so.....well, redeeming.

metaldog - thanks, I try.
posted by troutfishing at 9:49 AM on March 6, 2004

What a fool, too.

If the biologist with the seal head had waited a few weeks,

It would have been an Easter Seal!
posted by troutfishing at 6:59 AM on March 25, 2004

oops - right comment, wrong thread!
posted by troutfishing at 7:00 AM on March 25, 2004

(welds cattle prod)
posted by clavdivs at 8:43 AM on March 25, 2004

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