You've got to hand it to her, Martha Stewart's a stand-up guy.
She reported to prison last week, to begin serving a five-month sentence for perjury. She could've stayed free pending an appeal of her conviction, but decided she just wanted to get the whole stupid thing over with.
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The government's case against her was shaky at best, and depended on the testimony of a stool pigeon who was an admitted thief. A Secret Service document examiner who testified against her is now himself facing charges that he committed perjury in her trial.
Stewart, a billionaire at the time charges were brought against her, was accused of lying about a stock transaction that netted her less than $40,000. She's either not as bright as she seems or she's innocent.
The fact that Stewart was a big Democratic donor and high-profile friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton didn't help. Look at George Bush's friend "Kenny-Boy" Lay. He robbed thousands of Enron investors out of millions and was only recently indicted when he became a political liability. And Vice President Dick Cheney lies about things all the time without the worry of any possible indictment.
But, as Stewart found out, celebrity can be a two-edged sword, especially when combined with political activism.
Here at the Reporter, we were hoping she'd do her time at Allenwood. We've got some friends down there and they probably could have helped her out. Instead the feds put her in Alderson, the West Virginia prison camp that has hosted such notables as Billie Holiday, Tokyo Rose, Axis Sally and would-be presidential assassins Squeaky Fromme and Sara Jane Moore since opening in 1927.
While we were not big fans of Stewart's too-perfect brand of celebrity homemaking, and enjoyed the over-the-top movie portrayal of her by Cybill Shepherd, we think she got a raw deal. Had she been Martha Smith from the Town of Wheatfield, the charge for which she was convicted wouldn't have even been brought. The prosecutors admitted as much.
Often portrayed as a phony, the bravado Stewart showed in surrendering herself while the appeals are still ongoing is to be admired. We were reminded of the scene in "Goodfellas" where Ray Liotta, after toasting his pals with a glass of Midori, walks out of the bar, gets into the limo, drops a couple of Valium and tells the driver, "Take me to jail."
|Niagara Falls Reporter||www.niagarafallsreporter.com||Oct. 12 2004|