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Last Updated: Friday, 8 October, 2004, 13:46 GMT 14:46 UK
Martha Stewart starts prison term
Martha Stewart
Ms Stewart has been at the helm of multi-million dollar business
Martha Stewart, the US lifestyle guru convicted of lying to federal investigators about a suspicious share sale, has begun her prison sentence.

She was sentenced to five months' imprisonment in July, after being found guilty of conspiracy and obstruction.

Her website revealed she had started her prison term at a minimum-security jail in West Virginia on Friday.

Stewart earned millions from a business empire based on selling domestic items and lifestyle advice.

'Look at Nelson Mandela'

Addressing "friends" on her website, Ms Stewart wrote: "By the time you read this, I will have reported to a minimum-security prison in Alderson, West Virginia, to begin serving my five-month sentence."

Despite an appeal against her conviction that has yet to be resolved, Stewart said she did not want to delay going to prison.

"I have decided to serve my sentence now because I want to put this nightmare behind me as quickly as possible for the good of my family and my company," she wrote on her website.

Stewart had earlier expressed optimism at her conviction, saying: "There are many, many good people who have gone to prison. Look at Nelson Mandela."

Penal profit

Although she stepped down as chairwoman and chief executive of her firm, Martha Stewart Omnimedia, the domestic icon remains the biggest shareholder in the business.

Alderson Federal Prison Camp
Martha Stewart is not the first celebrity inmate at the prison

She is expected to resume working for the firm after her release from prison.

The prison at Alderson, West Virginia, has been home to a number of famous inmates, including the jazz singer, Billie Holliday.

Residents of the town are hoping the media interest in its newest arrival will make them wealthier, according to the Associated Press news agency.

Some locals have rented their lawns to TV networks' satellite trucks while others are selling visitors souvenirs and merchandise.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See where Martha Stewart will serve her sentence



SEE ALSO:
Profile: Martha Stewart
05 Mar 04  |  Americas
Millionaires behind bars
07 Oct 04  |  Business
Fresh chance for Stewart retrial
11 Jun 04  |  Business
Martha Stewart brand bounces back
27 Apr 04  |  Business
Corporate America in the dock
20 Jan 04  |  Business
US press sums up Stewart fall
17 Jul 04  |  Americas


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