MARTHA STEWART WANTS TO START PRISON TIME

Latest Strategy Is to 'Put This Nightmare Behind Me'

By Published on .

NEW YORK (adAge.com) -- Martha Stewart has petitioned the court to begin serving her prison sentence as soon as possible, in order to "put this nightmare behind me," the lifestyle maven said today.
Martha Stewart is shifting gears and now wants to go to prison.
Related Stories:
MARTHA STEWART COMPANY BUYS TWO MAGAZINES
Acquisitions Signal New Post-Martha Marketing Strategy
MARTHA STEWART COMPANY REPORTS SERIOUS LOSSES
Advertisers Absence Continues to Devastate Media Properties
MARTHA STEWART GETS PRISON TIME AND FINE
But Is Allowed to Go Free on Bail During Appeal
MARTHA STEWART GUILTY ON ALL COUNTS
Verdict Expected to Impact Her Already-Troubled Company
MARTHA STEWART COMPANY POSTS FIRST FULL-YEAR LOSS
Trial Shadows Earnings Report; 'Contingency Plans' Being Reviewed

Appeal to continue
Ms. Stewart, who stepped down as chairman of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia after being convicted of lying to federal investigators, told a press conference today that she hoped to be free in time to plant her garden in the spring and reclaim her professional standing. She is expected to continue to appeal her sentence.

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 stock in the biotech company Imclone. She was sentenced in July to five months in federal prison, five months of home confinement and fined $30,000; she will also have to spend two years under supervised probation. Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum had agreed to allow Ms. Stewart to remain free on bailing pending an appeal.

Since her sentencing, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia has laid out its post-Martha strategy in an announcement it would purchase two health- and healing-related publications -- New Age Publishing's Body & Soul and Throne Communication's Dr. Andrew Weil's Self Healing newsletter -- to broaden the company's portfolio beyond the home-related and Ms. Stewart-related brands upon which it built a lifestyle empire.

Trade ad campaign
Even before her sentencing, the company had begun to distance itself from its namesake founder, with a new, Martha-less publication called Everyday Food and a trade campaign for its flagship magazine, Martha Stewart Living, with the Martha-free tagline "Take a new look at Living."

Ms. Stewart's legal woes had brutalized her company, leading it to its first full-year loss in 2003 and continuing with last month's annoucement of a second-quarter net loss of $19.3 million, compared with a net gain of $931,000 for the same period last year and 33.1% drop in revenue to $44.0 million.

During an earnings call with analysts last month, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia President-CEO Sharon Patrick said, "Only when Martha puts incarceration behind her and/or has successfully completed the appeals process ... will large numbers of advertisers actively return to our media property."

A statement from Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia said the company will "continue to do what she has taught us to do so well. ... Her standards for excellence will continue to guide everything we do."

In this article:
Most Popular