MARTHA STEWART GETS PRISON TIME AND FINE

But Is Allowed to Go Free on Bail During Appeal

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Martha Stewart was sentenced this morning to five months in a federal prison, five months of home confinement and fined $30,000 by Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum.
Photo: AP
Martha Stewart arriving at court in Manhattan this morning.
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Free on bail
Judge Cedarbaum agreed to allow Ms. Stewart to remain free on bailing pending an appeal.

Ms. Stewart will also have to spend two years under supervised probation.

On March 5, Ms. Stewart was found guilty of four counts of perjury and obstruction of justice for lying to federal investigators looking into her sale of Imclone stock.

Judge Cedarbaum rejected an appeal for mercy from Ms. Stewart's attorney, Robert G. Morvillo. Mr. Morvillo said, "I submit [Ms. Stewart's] false statements did not seriously impede the government investigation and thus did not warrant society's severest penalty -- the deprivation of freedom."

'Scorned, ridiculed'
He said Ms. Stewart was "an inspiration to millions and a role model to most of them" and that the attention surrounding the trial left her "scorned, ridiculed and the butt of all forms of derogatory humor."

In her own statement -- parts of which she reprised for TV cameras outside the courthouse -- Ms. Stewart said the effects of a "small personal matter" had "spread like oil over a vast landscape" and that she had been "choked, almost suffocated to death."

But Judge Cedarbaum rejected those pleas, saying there were no mitigating circumstances that would allow her to evade federal sentencing guidelines. (Her sentence, she noted, was "at the bottom" of the guidelines.)

'Small personal matter'
Afterwards, Ms. Stewart amplified her courtroom remarks to the TV cameras outside, as a crowd of hundreds of reporters, passersby and vocal well-wishers crowded around her. "I'm sorry it's come to this," she said, "that a small personal matter has been blown out of all proportion, and with such venom, such gore."

She also asked "all of you out there" to show support "by subscribing to our magazine, by buying our products and encouraging our advertisers to come back in full-force to our magazines."

Advertisers continue to desert
Advertisers continue to desert the company flagship, Martha Stewart Living. For the first half of the year, its ad pages fell 41.8%. In the company's last conference call with analysts in May, Chief Financial Officer James Follo said ad page declines at the magazine would be around 50% in the second quarter, which represent an acceleration of previous declines.

The company announced in May that it would suspend its syndicated TV show, also called Martha Stewart Living. Last year the company posted its first ever annual loss, of $2.8 million, on revenue of $245.8 million.

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Ira Teinowitz contributed to this report.

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