“I think to a certain extent Martha Stewart was harshly and unfairly treated,” Trump said, according to a pool report (per The New York Times). “And she used to be my biggest fan in the world… before I became a politician. But that’s okay, I don’t view it that way.”
Stewart was convicted of lying to the FBI during an investigation into her sale of shares to drug company ImClone Systems for possible insider trading. She was convicted of conspiracy and obstruction of justice, and served a five-month prison sentence.
Stewart had been prosecuted by former FBI director James Comey, whom Trump fired recently. Though he claims that decision was not because of Comey’s investigation into collusion between Russia officials and Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, the commander-in-chief told NBC News in May that he considered “this Russia thing” before firing.
Trump’s remarks come on the day he granted a full pardon to conservative political commentator Dinesh D’Souza, who received a felony conviction in 2014 after pleading guilty to making illegal campaign contributions.
“Will be giving a Full Pardon to Dinesh D’Souza today,” Trump tweeted Thursday. “He was treated very unfairly by our government!”
Rudy Giuliani, a member of Trump’s legal team, recently compared the Russia investigation to Stewart’s conviction. “It’s like Martha Stewart,” he claimed on CNN. “Martha Stewart never would have gone to jail if she hadn’t gone and testified.”
Trump and Stewart famously feuded over 2005’s failed The Apprentice: Martha Stewart.
In a 2006 open letter, Trump wrote, “It’s about time you started taking responsibility for your failed version of The Apprentice. Your performance was terrible in that the show lacked mood, temperament and just about everything else a show needs for success. I knew it would fail as soon as I first saw it — and your low ratings bore me out.”
“The letter is so mean-spirited and reckless that I almost can’t believe my longtime friend Donald Trump wrote it,” Stewart shot back at the time. “I am very proud of the work we did with Mark Burnett Productions and Mr. Trump, who was an executive producer, on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart.”
Years later in 2013, Trump tweeted of Stewart’s Today appearance, “She looks terrific, better than ever, any guy would be lucky to be with her.”