Should Martha Stewart start thinking of ways to decorate her cell and improve jailhouse cuisine? On Friday, after three days of deliberation, jurors found the homemaking maven guilty on all charges in her federal trial stemming from her controversial ImClone stock sale, the Associated Press reports. Jurors also found her stockbroker, Peter Bacanovic, guilty of six of the seven charges against him, acquitting him only on the charge of making a false statement.
Stewart, 62, and Bacanovic, 41, were accused of obstructing justice by concocting a cover story to explain to federal authorities her suspiciously well-timed Dec. 2001 stock sale, on a day that Bacanovic learned ImClone CEO (and Stewart pal) Sam Waksal was dumping his own shares, and one day before the price plunged on news of FDA rejection of the company’s new cancer drug. During the five-week trial at a Manhattan courthouse, federal prosecutors called several witnesses who cast doubt on Stewart and Bacanovic’s claim that she had placed a standing order with him to sell her nearly 4,000 shares if the stock price fell below $60. Stewart’s defense attorney presented just one witness and said in his closing statement that Stewart and Bacanovic’s story had to be true because they were too smart to have engineered such an inept cover-up.
Sentencing will take place at an unspecified future date. Stewart’s charges could result in up to 20 years in prison, though federal sentencing guidelines suggest that the first-time offender will face a much lighter prison term. In addition, the Securities and Exchange Commission may eject her from the board of her own company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.
It’s not all bad news for Martha. On Thursday, her syndicated morning show, ”Martha Stewart Living,” was nominated for six Daytime Emmys, including a Best Service Show Host nod for Stewart herself. Of course, when the May 21 awards ceremony rolls around, she may be unavoidably detained.