Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Martha Stewart does not anticipate
time in prison

By Erin McClam
The Associated Press

NEW YORK - Martha Stewart, indicted in a stock-trading scandal over the summer, says she is scared but does not believe she will go to prison.

The comments, released Monday by ABC News, came in an interview conducted over the weekend by Barbara Walters that will air in November, two months before Stewart's scheduled trial.

"Who wouldn't be scared?" Stewart said, according to the ABC excerpt. "Of course I'm scared. The last place I would ever want to go is prison. And I don't think I will be going to prison, though."

Stewart, 62, is accused of selling ImClone Systems stock in 2001 because she was tipped that the family of ImClone founder Sam Waksal was selling. The next day, the stock plunged on a negative report from the Food and Drug Administration.

Stewart has made two court appearances since she was indicted June 4 along with her former stockbroker, Peter Bacanovic. Both have pleaded not guilty and are scheduled for trial Jan. 12.

Stewart's attorneys have asked a federal judge to dismiss counts of securities fraud and obstruction of justice against her. She is also charged with conspiracy and two counts of making false statements.

The five counts carry a total maximum prison sentence of 30 years, but Stewart would likely receive far less under federal sentencing guidelines if convicted.

In an earlier interview with USA Today, published in September, Stewart said she was not guilty but felt sad.

"I keep saying, 'Why, why, why?' " she said. "For a creative person to be maligned like this is the worst thing that could happen. It takes away the joy."

Waksal, a longtime friend of Stewart, pleaded guilty to instructing his daughter to sell her shares because he had early word of the FDA report.

He is serving a seven-year sentence in federal prison.

ABC declined to release further excerpts or say where the interview took place.

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