Martha Stewart Returns To Court To Appeal Her Conviction
Mario Tama  /  Getty Images file
“Home detention is imposed as an alternative to imprisonment. It is designed to be confining,” Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum wrote. “I see no reason to modify the sentence.”
updated 4/11/2005 5:35:56 PM ET 2005-04-11T21:35:56

A federal judge Monday rejected Martha Stewart’s bid to end her five months of house arrest early, calling her sentence “reasonable and appropriate.”

Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum said she was not persuaded by Stewart’s claim that the punishment was hurting her business.

“Home detention is imposed as an alternative to imprisonment. It is designed to be confining,” the judge wrote. “I see no reason to modify the sentence.”

Stewart began her five months of house arrest in early March after serving a five-month prison term in West Virginia. She was convicted last year of lying about a personal stock sale.

The judge also brushed aside Stewart’s bid to be allowed to leave her Westchester County estate 80 hours per week for business. Under the original sentence, she is allowed 48 hours per week.

In a statement, Stewart’s lawyers said they were disappointed by the ruling.

“All she was seeking was the same opportunity for reconsideration as others in her position, and the chance to spend more hours at work,” they said.

Prosecutors declined to comment on the ruling.

Stewart asked for resentencing after a Supreme Court ruling earlier this year made federal sentencing guidelines simply advisory for judges rather than mandatory.

The original sentence of five months in prison and five months of home confinement was the least possible sentence Stewart could have received under the guidelines for her crimes.

Cedarbaum said she would have imposed the same sentence even if the guidelines had not been mandatory at the time of the sentencing last summer.

“In my opinion, the sentence I imposed was particularly needed to reflect the seriousness of the offense, to promote respect for the law and to provide just punishment,” the judge wrote.

In a March Web chat, Stewart told fans that the electronic monitoring bracelet she must wear during house arrest is “somewhat uncomfortable and irritating.”

The homemaking maven also told the judge that serving the rest of her sentence would hamper production of her two upcoming television series — a daytime talk show and a new rendition of NBC’s “The Apprentice.”

In court papers that mocked the request for a shorter sentence, federal prosecutors had urged the judge to uphold the original sentence.

“Minor inconvenience to one’s ability to star in a television show is an insufficient ground for resentencing,” prosecutor Michael Schachter wrote in a letter to Cedarbaum earlier this month.

Stewart and former stockbroker Peter Bacanovic were convicted of lying about why Stewart dumped nearly 4,000 shares of ImClone Systems stock in 2001, just before it took a dive on a negative government report about the company.

Bacanovic began serving his own five-month prison term in January. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is weighing bids from Stewart and Bacanovic to overturn their convictions.

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