- The Washington Times - Monday, April 11, 2005

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge yesterday rejected Martha Stewart’s bid to end her five months of house arrest early, calling her sentence “reasonable and appropriate.”

Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum said she was not persuaded by Mrs. Stewart’s claim that the punishment was hurting her business.

“Home detention is imposed as an alternative to imprisonment. It is designed to be confining,” the judge wrote. “I see no reason to modify the sentence.”

Mrs. Stewart began her five months of house arrest in early March after serving a five-month prison term in West Virginia. She was convicted last year of lying about a personal stock sale.

The judge also brushed aside Mrs. Stewart’s bid to be allowed to leave her Westchester County estate 80 hours per week for business. Under the original sentence, she is allowed 48 hours per week.

Mrs. Stewart’s lawyers said they were disappointed by the ruling.

“All she was seeking was the same opportunity for reconsideration as others in her position, and the chance to spend more hours at work,” they said. There was no immediate comment from federal prosecutors.

Mrs. Stewart asked for resentencing after a Supreme Court ruling earlier this year made federal sentencing guidelines simply advisory for judges rather than mandatory.

The original sentence of five months in prison and five months of home confinement was the least possible sentence Mrs. Stewart could have received under the guidelines for her crimes.

Judge Cedarbaum said she would have imposed the same sentence even if the guidelines had not been mandatory at the time of the sentencing last summer.

In a March Web chat, Mrs. Stewart told fans that the electronic monitoring bracelet she must wear during house arrest is “somewhat uncomfortable and irritating.”

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