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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Martha Stewart's Trial Date Set for January

Aired June 19, 2003 - 19:08   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Shifting gears right now. Boy, are we shifting gears.
Martha Stewart's trial will begin January 12. A federal judge in New York set the date today after the defense asked for more time to go through dozens of boxes of government evidence.

Stewart and her stockbroker are charged in a stock trading scandal.

Outside the courthouse, we got a preview of what we may be seeing next winter. Supporters of the lifestyle icon chanted, "We love you, Martha."

So, can we expect Stewart to spend the next seven months quietly, or will there be some kind of a comeback? Andy Serwer of "Fortune" magazine has been monitoring Martha and he joins me now to talk about what she has been up to.

It was tough for her to come into court today. They didn't want her to, right?

ANDREW SERWER, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: Yes, well, her lawyers didn't want her to. She didn't want to come in, Anderson, but the judge said, "You have to come in just like every other citizen." Sorry.

COOPER: The lawyers were basically saying it creates a circus media atmosphere.

SERWER: Yes, and the judge said, "Too bad. I mean, you've got to come in." There was extra security. Of course, the taxpayers are paying for that.

But you know, Martha, it was a little bit of a trouble for her, but she's unflappable, of course. And I mean, Martha was Martha, waving as you suggested, to her supporters, also tapping her pen impatiently when Peter Bocanovic and his attorney were late. How could you be late for Martha? That kind of stuff.

So anyway, the drama continues on that front.

COOPER: How is her company doing? Her stock took a hit when this thing first came out. What's happening to it now?

SERWER: Well, the stock has gone from $12 a share, Anderson, to $9 over the past month, basically, during this time of the indictment, which is obviously a huge hit. It was $40 back in 1999. And Martha Stewart's made this decision. She's made the decision to fight, which is going to keep the company under pressure. If she had settled, if she'd copped a plea, maybe the cloud would have been cleared.

So the company's going to be under pressure and now we have the trial in January.

COOPER: And there's this new CEO, Sharon Patrick, who's a Martha protege. But Martha's still keeping a hand in things, right?

SERWER: Absolutely. Chief creative officer and she's adamant about calling the shots. That's what sources say. Sharon Patrick is a longtime protege of Martha. Met Martha Stewart climbing Mt. Kilamanjaro with her ten years ago. I mean, that's a great way. It's a Martha way to meet someone.

COOPER: Followed by a whole bunch of sherpas, no doubt.

SERWER: Yes, no doubt.

But anyway, you know, Martha decided that she wanted to stay in this game. She can't be CEO. The board decided that wasn't going to happen. So now she's got her protege.

COOPER: She's got this web site, Martha...

SERWER: Martha talks.

COOPER: Martha talks.

SERWER: Marthatalks.com. I urge everyone to go to this web site, because it's amusing. I think it's funny. I mean, here she is. It's defense by web site. She's trying to keep up appearances.

Here's a picture of her. This just came up today. It's her and her peonies, Anderson. Can I read the caption? "Martha's peonies are in full bloom in her Turkey Hill garden. These are festiva maxima, an old-fashioned peony."

COOPER: Well, you didn't need the web site to tell you that, Andrew.

SERWER: I was going to ask you how your peonies were doing, Anderson. But I mean, it's just all sort of crazy, isn't it, that someone is being indicted and they're having a trial coming up with these criminal charges and they defend themselves by having a web site.

COOPER: It is true. It is true, you can't make this stuff up. Andy Serwer, thank you very much.

SERWER: Thanks.

COOPER: All right.

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