Video: Sketching Martha Stewart

updated 7/16/2004 6:45:24 PM ET 2004-07-16T22:45:24

Before she was sentenced, I thought it was okay to feel sorry for Martha Stewart—that while she was clearly guilty of the crimes charged, a lighter sentence of ten months—five in home detention and five in prison—would be more than sufficient.

Judge Miriam Gold Cederbaum must have been listening, because that is exactly the sentence she imposed today.

I don’t care what anyone else says, Martha Stewart has got to be breathing a sigh of relief right now.

I was in the courtroom this morning, as Judge Cederbaum delivered Stewart’s sentence.  Inside the courtroom, we saw a humble Martha Stewart asking the judge for leniency. She was deferential, at times emotional. She was confident, unafraid, looking for mercy from the judge and looking for respect from everyone else.

Moments later, outside the courtroom, she seemed far more defiant. Stewart kept up the fight, making it clear she does not want anyone to feel sorry for her, encouraging people to buy her products and subscribe to her magazines, and in Schwarzengger-like fashion saying, “I’ll be back.”

She is right to move forward with her life. But she is wrong to repeatedly say that this was “just a small personal matter.” This IS a criminal matter. If she wants to continue the appeals process, let her do so. But at some point, it would be nice to hear her simply say, “I am sorry I lied.”

I won't hold my breath though.

I think Stewart got it as good as she could have gotten it.

Stewart was able to chose at which home she would be able to serve her home detention. She chose her home in Bedford, New York. She will only be able to leave the house for work, medical appointments, and religious observances. And she can’t be away form her home for more than 48 hours per week. She also must remain at home all day for at least one day a week.

The judge will later decide about whether Stewart will have to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet, or if she will have to check in by phone. Stewart will also have to pay all of the costs associated with her home detention.

To make things even better, the judge has recommended she spend the five months at a minimum security prison in Danbury Connecticut, not far from her home in Westport, the prison she had requested.

To top it all off, the judge says Martha doesn’t have to start serving yet. Judge Cederbaum has agreed to wait until Stewart’s appeals process is over. That could take years.

Dan Abrams hosts "The Abrams Report." The show airs weeknights, 6 p.m. ET on MSNBC.


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