Congress threatens to act against Martha Stewart
”We have reached the end of the road with respect to Martha Stewart.” So said House Energy and Commerce Committee spokesman Ken Johnson on Thursday, the Associated Press reports. The committee has long complained that she dragged her feet in providing requested records surrounding her controversial sale of her ImClone stock, then finally handed over a huge stack of papers full of blacked-out text. Now that investigators have waded through the files and found information that appears to contradict Stewart’s contention that she did not sell her stock based on an illegal tip from ImClone founder Sam Waksal, the New York Post reports that the panel may take legal action against Stewart as early as next week.
Stewart, who has not been charged with a crime in the insider-trading scandal, has said she had placed a standing order to sell her stock if its price dipped below $60, and that she didn’t have any contact near the date of her sale last December with pal Waksal, who could have informed her illegally that the share price was about to drop. But the records turned over to Congress show a call placed from a cell phone rented by a Stewart employee to Waksal’s cell phone four days after the sale, the Post reports. ”We believe that someone lied to us and has conspired to obstruct a congressional investigation,” Johnson told the paper.
Stewart may face anything from a subpoena to testify before Congress (something she has declined to do since the scandal broke in June) or a referral of the matter to the Justice Department for possible criminal prosecution. Asked by AP about the latest turn of events, Stewart’s spokeswoman declined to comment.