Martha Stewart may be close to SEC resolution

/ Source: The Associated Press

Media personality Martha Stewart said she believes to be close to settling an insider trading lawsuit brought against her by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

During a segment on NBC Universal's "Today" show on Wednesday, Stewart said, "I think we're close to a happy settlement" in response to a question from one of the show's hosts. (MSNBC is a Microsoft-NBC joint venture.)

Stewart's lawyer didn't immediately return a phone calls seeking comment on Wednesday.

A Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia spokeswoman wouldn't confirm if a settlement was at hand, noting the New York-based company isn't a party in the lawsuit.

"We are confident that nothing about this civil litigation will prevent Martha from continuing to do all the wonderfully creative and inspirational things she currently does for the company and its customers," the Martha Stewart Living company said in a statement.

A spokesman for the SEC declined to say Wednesday whether a settlement was close at hand.

"We are prepared to present our case, but generally we consider settlement offers so long as they are consistent with investor protection," said John Nester, an SEC spokesman.

Stewart and her stockbroker, Peter Bacanovic, were convicted in March 2004 of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and other charges related to her controversial 2001 sale of shares of biotech concern ImClone Systems Inc. They both were sentenced to five months in prison, five months of home detention and two years of supervised release.

A federal appeals court upheld their convictions in January.