- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 21, 2004

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge ordered Martha Stewart yesterday to surrender for prison by Oct. 8, granting the celebrity homemaker’s request to begin serving her sentence for lying about a stock sale.

The judge also recommended that U.S. prison officials assign Stewart to a prison camp in Danbury, Conn., or Coleman, Fla. — the two she requested last week.

U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum sentenced Stewart to five months in prison in July, but allowed Stewart to remain out of prison while she appealed her conviction.

Last week, Stewart asked the judge to allow her to begin serving her time, saying she wanted to “reclaim my good life” and put the ordeal behind her and her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc.

Shares in Martha Stewart Living rose $1.18, about 9 percent, to $14.35 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock had been trading around $19 per share before Stewart’s name was tied to the stock scandal.

Publicists for Stewart said that she was pleased the judge had set an “early date” for her to begin serving her sentence.

“She remains hopeful that she will be designated to Danbury, which is the facility closest to her home,” their statement said.

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons must now decide where Stewart will serve her time. Her first choice, the minimum-security facility in Connecticut, is close to her home in Westport.

Dan Dunne, a spokesman for the bureau, said both the Connecticut and Florida facilities are above their “rated capacity.” But he said that does not rule out either one.

“The bureau will make the appropriate designation based on the offender’s particular situation,” Mr. Dunne said. He did not have a timetable for when the decision would be made.

Judge Cedarbaum said Stewart must surrender for prison by 2 p.m. on Oct. 8. A five-month term would place Stewart’s release in early March — in time, as Stewart said last week, for spring planting.

Mr. Dunne said most prisoners surrender on the deadline date itself, but some report in the days leading up to it.

Stewart still plans to ask a federal appeals court to overturn her conviction. She and former stockbroker Peter Bacanovic were convicted in March of lying about why Stewart sold ImClone Systems Inc. stock in 2001.

After the five-month term, Stewart still must serve five months of house arrest.

Judge Cedarbaum’s decision came one day before Larry Stewart, an ink expert who testified for the government at the trial, is set to go on trial himself on charges that he lied repeatedly during his testimony.

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