Martha must pay


Issue: "Year in Review 2004," Jan. 1, 2005

Martha Stewart began 2004 a near-billionaire, overseeing a vast media empire built on her knack for cooking and home decor. She ended it with friends wondering whether she might win the annual holiday decorating contest at Alderson Federal Prison Camp in West Virginia.

Ms. Stewart was convicted on March 5 of all charges in an ImClone Systems insider-trading scandal. Jurors in the trial seemed sorry to convict the domestic diva, who steadfastly maintained her innocence. "We felt that she was a smart lady who made a dumb mistake," the jury forewoman said.

A U.S. district judge sentenced Ms. Stewart to five months in federal prison. On Oct. 8, Ms. Stewart reported to Alderson, slipping through the gates before dawn.

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She spent the last two months making friends, plans, and money. Her net worth, which plummeted after the guilty verdict, soared $200 million after Kmart's announced merger with Sears. And NBC said that the media mogul cut a cushy, post-prison talk-show deal.


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