Martha vows to clear her name on appeal. CBS' flagship station pulls her show, and others may follow suit

By Gary Susman
Updated March 06, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST
Credit: Martha Stewart: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/NewsCom

Don’t place your order for Martha Stewart’s Prison Cuisine cookbook just yet. Shortly after her conviction Friday on four federal charges obstructing justice and lying to investigators about her suspicious ImClone stock sale, Stewart vowed to appeal. ”I am obviously distressed by the jury’s verdict but I continue to take comfort in knowing that I have done nothing wrong and that I have the enduring support of my family and friends,” she said in a statement. ”I will appeal the verdict and continue to fight to clear my name. I believe in the fairness of the judicial system and remain confident that I will ultimately prevail.”

Jurors speaking over the weekend said that the testimony of government witnesses (particularly Douglas Faneuil, former assistant to Stewart’s co-defendant, broker Peter Bacanovic), coupled with the minimal defense offered by Stewart’s lawyer, convinced them that the domestic diva was lying when she told the government she didn’t sell based on an inside tip, dumping her ImClone shares a day before they dropped nearly $50,000 in value. ”Maybe it’s a victory for the little guys who lose money in the market because of these kinds of transactions,” juror Chappell Hartridge told the Associated Press. Stewart faces fines and a maximum of 20 years behind bars when she’s sentenced on June 17, but according to the New York Times, the first-time offender is likely to face 10 to 16 months in prison and no more than $1 million in fines, based on federal sentencing guidelines.

In other fallout from the case, New York’s WCBS, the CBS-owned flagship station of the network, said it would immediately pull the syndicated ”Martha Stewart Living” from its lineup (the low-rated show had already been relegated to a 2:05 a.m. graveyard slot), with other stations expected to follow suit. However, she’s still eligible for a Daytime Emmy as Best Service Show host, one of several nominations the show earned last week, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences said in a statement. Also, cable’s Food Network plans to keep airing ”From Martha’s Kitchen.”