Martha Stewart is sentenced to five months in prison. A judge sentenced Stewart to prison after her conviction on three felony counts

By Brian Hiatt
Updated July 16, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT
Martha Stewart
Credit: Martha Stewart: Jennifer Graylock/AP

Martha Stewart was sentenced Friday to five months in prison and two years probation after her conviction on obstruction of justice charges stemming from a December 2001 stock sale. Stewart, who will also have to pay a $30,000 fine, told U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum that she felt like she was being ”suffocated,” and asked her to ”please consider the suffering I’ve experienced over the past two and a half years,” according to CNN. The judge had been flooded with hundreds of letters from Stewart fans begging for leniency.

Stewart was convicted in March on four counts of obstruction of justice for lying about why she sold 3,928 shares of ImClone Systems, a company that was headed by Stewart’s friend Sam Waksal, right before bad news sent share prices plummeting. The judge has stayed Stewart’s sentence pending her lawyer’s appeal, so she won’t be entering prison anytime soon.

”Today is a shameful day. It’s shameful for me and for my family and for my beloved company and all its employees and partners,” Stewart said in a prepared statement outside the courthouse. ”I will be back… I’m used to all kinds of hard work, and I’m not afraid.” While admitting no wrongdoing, she also apologized to Martha Stewart Omnimedia employees who’ve lost their jobs because of her troubles, and added a sales pitch: ”Show your support by subscribing to our magazines and buying our products.”