Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Martha Stewart considering dropping her appeal

Speaking on Larry King Live (CNN article), Martha Stewart says she may drop her appeal and go instead to prison to just get things over with. Man, she's though. But, this is about money, pure and simple. (She is also said to be working on a book about her ordeal, expected to be worth at least six figures. It will be fun to review in these pages.)

As I noted in an earlier post, the appeal process is expected to take about two years. Although 95% of federal criminal appeals are rejects, Martha's chances are thought to be much better than usual. She has also been granted the unusual liberty of being a free woman during the long appellate process. (Most federal criminals with such a short sentence would have already done their time before the appeals case would have been decided.)

Dropping her appeal would eliminate Wall Street uncertainty (which doesn't like even the remote possibility that some judges could suddenly decide to throw out her appeal one on a technicality, and suddenly and unexpectedly pluck Martha from the de-facto helm of her company.) If she goes to jail for five months, everything is certain, and Wall Street rewards certainty with higher stock prices for Martha Stewart Omniliving, which is the main basis for Steward's considerable wealth. Man she's tough.

on the other hand, as my earlier post points out, there is a good chance, given her wealth, some problems with her trial, and a possible new administration that may be sympathethic to obvious selective prosecution she received, that she may be cleared in two years or so by the appelate court. The main advantage of this is that it would eliminate legal obstacles to her running her company, not just de-facto, but in name as well.

One thing is certain: either way, Martha will play hard-ball and make a gutsy decision.