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Last Updated: Friday, 16 July, 2004, 21:37 GMT 22:37 UK
Five months in jail for Stewart
Martha Stewart  arrives for sentencing at Manhattan federal court, in New York Friday July 16, 2004
Martha Stewart asked the judge to "remember all the good I have done"
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart has been sentenced to five months in jail and five months of house arrest over charges of conspiracy and obstruction.

The US trendsetter was convicted in March for lying about a stock sale during a government investigation.

She was also given two years supervised release and a fine of a $30,000 (16,000) by the court in New York.

Stewart will be held in a prison near Connecticut, though the sentence will be delayed pending appeal.

'Buy my magazine'

Her lawyer has said she would be appealing the sentence but experts say it is unlikely any appeal would be successful.

Martha Stewart's former stock broker Peter Bacanovic was also sentenced on Friday to five months in prison for conspiring with her to conceal the reason for a dubious trade in her account.

Before Stewart's sentence was passed, she asked the judge to "remember all the good I have done".

"Today is a shameful day. It's shameful for me, for my family and for my company," she said.

US District Court Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum said that she had given Stewart one of the more lenient sentences.

What was a small personal matter became, after two years, almost a fatal circus event
Martha Stewart

She could have given her a maximum of 16 months in prison.

But Judge Cedarbaum told Stewart that "lying to government agencies during the course of an investigation is a very serious matter".

Dressed in a black suit, Stewart addressed her supporters on leaving the court.

"What was a small personal matter became, in the last two years, almost a fatal circus event," she told them, and apologised to the 200 people who had lost their jobs because of the case.

Martha Stewart's downfall

26/12/01 - The FDA tells Imclone Systems it will not review its cancer drug Erbitux
27/12/01 - Stewart sells her stock in Imclone Systems
28/12/01 - FDA makes the Erbitux decision public
31/12/01 - First trading day after news, Imclone drops 18%
04/02/02 - Stewart tells SEC & FBI she had plan with broker to sell stock when it fell to $60
04/06/03 - Stewart indicted on five counts including conspiracy and lying to investigators
10/06/03 - Imclone boss Sam Waksel gets 87 months' jail for insider trading & tax evasion
27/02/04 - Court throws out securities fraud count against Stewart
05/03/04 - Stewart found guilty of conspiracy, false statements & obstruction of justice
16/07/04 - Stewart sentenced to 5 months in jail and a two year supervised release
She also called on her supporters to go out and buy her magazine.

Martha Stewart shares soared 37% after her sentencing.

Stewart became famous across the US for her recipes and decorating tips as well as kitchen and garden goods.

BBC News North America business correspondent in New York Stephen Evans said it remains to be seen how jail affects celebrity.

It may destroy it, it may though, even enhance it, he said.

Stewart will have to wear a security bracelet.

The conviction against Stewart centred on a tip-off she received from her stockbroker, information that enabled her to save a few thousand dollars by selling shares in the drug company Imclone Systems just days before its price plummeted.

The charges followed a sale by Stewart of $228,000 worth of shares in Imclone Systems on 27 December 2001.

Prosecutors contended she was tipped that Imclone Systems founder Sam Waksal was trying to sell his shares.

Stewart's sale came a day before Imclone announced that the US Food and Drug Administration had not approved its anti-cancer drug, Erbitux.

The news led to a sharp fall in Imclone's shares.

False statements

Stewart claimed she had an agreement to sell shares in the company when the stock price fell below $60.

But the government argued she sold the shares because she had been tipped off in advance about the FDA announcement.

She then lied to investigators about the stock sale, and was convicted of two counts of making false statements, one of obstructing justice and one of conspiracy.

Stewart had denied that this was the case, but the court found against her.

Her call for the charges to be thrown out centred on the testimony given during her court case by US Secret Service laboratory director Larry Stewart - no relation.

He has been charged with lying while testifying as an expert witness about ink on a worksheet kept by Martha Stewart's stockbroker. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The BBC's Stephen Evans
"Her friends say jail won't dent her"

Stewart retrial hopes are revived
21 May 04  |  Business
Martha Stewart retrial bid denied
05 May 04  |  Business
Martha Stewart guilty of lying
06 Mar 04  |  Business
Martha Stewart pays price of fame
05 Mar 04  |  Business

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