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Martha Stewart jailed for 5 months


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Stewart: "I'll be back."
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Judge sentences Martha Stewart to five months in prison

Stewart apologizes to employees, describes her ordeal

Residents of Martha's hometown offer different views on the sentence
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NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -- Celebrity homemaker Martha Stewart has been sentenced to five months in prison and fined $30,000 for lying to investigators about her sale of ImClone Systems stock in late 2001.

U.S. District Court Judge Miriam Cedarbaum also ordered Stewart to two years of supervised probation, including five months of home confinement, after she is released.

It was the minimum sentence the judge could impose under federal sentencing guidelines.

Though relatively small given Stewart's wealth, the fine was the maximum Cedarbaum could impose under federal rules.

Stewart will not be headed to prison anytime soon, however. The judge issued a stay delaying the sentence while Stewart's lawyers file an expected appeal.

Stewart's attorneys said they won't file a formal appeal Friday. They have 10 days to file their motion for an appeal.

Robert Morvillo, Stewart's lead attorney, asked that if Stewart eventually does go to prison, she be sent to a federal facility in Danbury, Connecticut. Cedarbaum said she would refer the matter to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Shortly after the 30-minute hearing ended Friday, Stewart appeared before television cameras outside the courthouse and said it was a "shameful day."

"What was a small personal matter became, over the last two years, an almost fatal circus of unprecedented proportion," said Stewart, who has aggressively fought to clear her name through the 2 1/2-year prosecution.

"I have been choked and almost suffocated to death," she said, adding she's "not afraid whatsoever" of what's to come.

"I'll be back," she declared.

She also appealed to people to subscribe to her magazine and buy her products.

Investors cheered the news, and shares of the company she founded, Martha Stewart Living, jumped about 35 percent shortly after the hearing ended, though later backed off a bit.

Wearing a black pant suit and escorted by her son-in-law, the lifestyle diva had arrived at the federal courthouse in New York around 9:15 a.m. (1315 GMT).

Stewart and former Merrill Lynch broker Peter Bacanovic were convicted March 5 of obstructing justice, conspiracy and making false statements related to Stewart's suspicious sale of ImClone Systems stock in late 2001.

Legal experts were split before the sentencing on how hard Cedarbaum would come down, but most agreed that the sentence would call for some jail time.

"The judge probably felt that, given the loss of status and the impact on her business, that this punishment was fair and just," Stanley Twardy Jr., a former U.S. attorney for Connecticut, told CNN/Money after the hearing.

Twardy and other legal experts said that Stewart's chances of winning on appeal are slim.

"No one can criticize the judge for meting out this sentence," said Michael Proctor, a former federal public defender now in private practice in Los Angeles. "The judge did about as much for the defense that she could do."

Proctor estimated it could take nine months to 2 years before a higher court rules on Stewart's appeal.

He called Cedarbaum's decision to let her stay out of jail pending the appeal's outcome "a very big victory" for the defense.

It avoided the prospect of Stewart serving her time before an appeals court had a chance to rule. "Without the stay, her appeal would have been meaningless."


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