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Last Updated: Sunday, 6 March, 2005, 08:45 GMT
Martha Stewart goes to her farm
Martha Stewart
Martha Stewart emerged to walk one of her dogs
Martha Stewart has swapped a prison cell for her $16m (8.3m) New York State farm after serving five months in jail, half her full sentence.

The US homemaking icon, who served the time behind bars for her role in a shares scandal, was seen walking with one of her dogs and feeding her horses.

Ms Stewart will complete the remaining five months of her sentence under house arrest at the 153-acre estate.

The multi-millionaire is however free to resume some business activities.

'Life affirming'

She will wear an electronic bracelet to keep track of her movements and she will be allowed to leave home for up to 48 hours a week to work, shop or carry out other approved errands.

Martha Stewart outside court

Shares in her company Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia leapt 9% as markets opened on Friday in New York, but later dropped back. By late morning they were 2.7% higher at $33.03.

"The experience of the last five months... has been life altering and life affirming," Ms Stewart said in a statement issued on her website.

"Someday, I hope to have the chance to talk more about all that has happened, the extraordinary people I have met here and all that I have learned."

Back to work

Her downfall was selling nearly 4,000 shares in a company called ImClone Systems after a long-time friend tipped her off that a negative government report about the firm's cancer drug was due to be released.

Ms Stewart, who made millions selling housekeeping advice and accessories, was convicted of lying about the share deal.

Her plans for the future include a role in property magnate Donald Trump's hit US business reality TV show The Apprentice and creative input to Martha Stewart Living.

She will also appear in a revival of her homemaking TV show and her company will resume paying her a salary of $900,000 (471,800) a year, according to Associated Press.

However, her conviction means she will not be able to lead her business empire again - unless granted permission to do so by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the country's financial watchdog.

High-profile departure

Ms Stewart left prison in a sports utility vehicle, which took her to a private jet.

A two-vehicle motorcade sped her out of prison in Alderson, West Virginia, in the early hours of Friday morning to a nearby airstrip, where supporters cheered her on as she boarded the plane.

Her company's shares had rallied while she was in jail amid hopes that she would make a comeback after serving her sentence.

Ms Stewart's incarceration is also said to have benefited the economy of Alderson, whose residents have cashed in on their celebrity inmate with the sale of novelty souvenirs.

The impact of Ms Stewart's jail term on her business

Martha Stewart freed from prison
04 Mar 05 |  Business
What's next for Martha Stewart?
04 Mar 05 |  Business
Martha Stewart heads for Trump TV
03 Feb 05 |  Business
Martha Stewart lambasts jail food
22 Dec 04 |  Americas
Millionaires behind bars
07 Oct 04 |  Business
Martha Stewart's firm sees losses
28 Oct 04 |  Business

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