Martha Stewart facing jail

Stewart, 62, was convicted on charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and two counts of making false statements to federal investigators. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of five years behind bars.

Her former stockbroker, Peter Bacanovic, was found guilty of four of the five charges against him.

However Stewart has continued to protest her innocence, in a message posted on her website, and has vowed to appeal.

US District Judge Miriam Cederbaum set the sentencing date for June 17. It is believed Stewart will most likely spend one to three years in jail.

The charges stem from her trading in a bio-tech company, ImClone, run by her friend Samuel Waksal, a day before the company announced news that caused the share price to plunge.

Police said she had received an improper tip that ImClone’s anti-cancer drug would not be approved, however she claimed she had a prior arrangement to sell her stock in the company should the share price dip below a certain level.

Waksal is now serving a seven-year prison term after pleading guilty to securities fraud and other charges.

“I am obviously distressed by the jury’s verdict, but I continue to take comfort in knowing that I have done nothing wrong,” she said on her website www.marthatalks.com.

“I will appeal the verdict and continue to fight to clear my name,” she said.

US Attorney David Kelly however rejected her depiction as a victim.

“The victims in this case are the entire American public who rely on the integrity of our system to make sure that justice is done and they can invest their money safely and securely,” Mr Kelly told reporters outside the court, adding that Stewart was treated the same as any other defendant.

Juror Chappell Hartridge told reporters the jury was convinced of her guilt, largely due to her “inconsistent story.”

Through Stewart’s own company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, she stamped her style on everything from magazines, recipes, bed linen and other lifestyle products.

After the verdict, Omnimedia shared plunged 22.6 percent.

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