Barbara Walters lands Martha Stewart interview. In her first TV sitdown since the stock scandal broke, the domestic diva says she fears going to prison

By Gary Susman
Updated October 14, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT
Barbara Walters and Martha Stewart: Virginia Sherwood

”Who wouldn’t be scared? Of course I’m scared,” Martha Stewart tells Barbara Walters. ”The last place I would ever want to go is prison. And I don’t think I will be going to prison, though.” And that’s all the sneak preview you’re going to get of Walters’ interview with Stewart, taped at an undisclosed location over the weekend. It’s the first TV interview the domestic diva has done since her notorious cabbage-chopping departure from CBS’ ”Early Show” in June 2002, after her stock scandal broke. ABC won’t even name the date that the interview is running (it’ll be sometime in the November ratings sweeps period), so as to prevent the other networks from scheduling counterprogramming against it, Reuters reports.

Aside from her syndicated daytime household-tips show, Stewart has kept a low profile over the last 16 months, since news broke that she was being investigated for alleged insider trading in her December 2001 sale of ImClone stock. Her last network appearance was on ”Early,” when she told then-host Jane Clayson that she wouldn’t address the controversy, saying, ”I want to focus on my salad.” Since then, she’s granted few interviews, and in her sitdowns with the New Yorker and USA Today, she avoided discussing her legal situation.

Apparently, she doesn’t discuss the five charges against her (which include securities fraud, obstruction of justice, conspiracy, and making false statements) with Walters, either. Stewart’s spokesperson told the New York Daily News that Stewart would not ”address the specifics of the legal situation. All of this is about how this affects her individually, how this indictment impacts her as a human being.” Stewart has pleaded not guilty to the charges in federal court. Her trial is due to begin on Jan. 12.