PARADE on Sunday: Martha Stewart talks about everything, interview excerpts

Martha Stewart is an all American badass, and was railroaded a few years ago in a stock case that landed her in prison. Now she is looking good and feeling great about aging well, she tells Dotson Rader in Sunday’s PARADE. 

Stewart spoke in a TV interview taped hours after she was sentenced to five months in prison and two years' probation Friday for lying to investigators about her sale of ImClone Systems stock in late 2001.

Federal Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum also ordered Stewart to serve five months of home confinement after her release and fined her $30,000.

The sentence was the minimum the judge could impose under federal sentencing guidelines.

Peter Bacanovic, Stewart's former broker at Merrill Lynch, also was sentenced to five months in prison and two years' probation; he was fined $4,000.

Stewart appeared on ABC's 20/20, and was asked by Barbara Walters how she would cope with prison life, including strip searches, if she lost her appeal.

"I could do it," Stewart said. "I'm a really good camper. I can sleep on the ground. ... There are many, many good people who have gone to prison ... look at Nelson Mandela."

Stewart claimed innocence, and told Walters, "I didn't cheat the little people. ... We're all little people. I didn't cheat anybody out of anything."

Bacanovic was accused of ordering his assistant to tell Stewart that the CEO of ImClone Systems was selling all his company stock ahead of the Food and Drug Administration's rejection of the firm's new cancer drug, causing the stock price to plunge.

Stewart sold nearly 4,000 shares, and later argued she and Bacanovic had an agreement that he would sell her shares once the price dipped below $60 a share.

"I had hoped for, at the most, some confinement, community service," Stewart told Walters. "And instead I have five months of incarceration, and five months of house arrest that's monitored. ... But it could have been worse. ... Five months versus 10 months or 16 months ... That's a good thing."

Stewart was angry over the two-year-long legal drama that forced her to give up her self-made, multimedia empire. "Many, many people have suffered. People have lost jobs. I am very saddened and very, very sorry for that."

"There are certain people who I wish I'd never met. I have lost my job. I have lost my position in my company. I am no longer the CEO of Martha Stewart Omnimedia. ... That makes me angry and sad."

Stewart told Walters, "I'll be back."  

As the domestic diva writes in her new book, Living the Good Long Life:  A Practical Guide to Caring for Yourself and Others:  “When you’re through changing, you’re through.”  Some highlights from the surprisingly candid, wide-ranging conversation:

How she would describe her new book:

MS: “It’s all about surviving in this extraordinary world—physically, mentally, emotionally.  I wrote it because nobody is paying attention to the silver tsunami of baby boomers who are now turning 65.  My book focuses on what you can do for othersand what you can do for yourself in terms of aging gracefully.”

Didn’t she begin modeling at age 13?

MS: “Just for money.  But it was fun.”

On whether she knew she was beautiful:

MS: “No, I actually didn’t.  I knew I was good enough to get $60 an hour, which was the going rate at the time.  I wasn’t the cover girl.  I wasn’t Suzy Parker.  But I should’ve been.  Maybe if I had had somebody encouraging me…But then I got married when I was 19.”

On the dispute between Macy’s and J.C. Penney over the rights to sell her wares:

MS: “We try something new and we get slapped with a lawsuit….We like designing and making products.  We’re good at it.  We want to have our own stores. That’s how the J.C. Penney thing came around; it was an opportunity to have 700 storeswithin J.C. Penney.  What I want to do now is build freestanding stores.”

Does she feel the stock sale that resulted in her imprisonment was a mistake?

MS “I don’t consider that a mistake.  It was a normal thing that people do every day.  They sell stock.  What was a mistake was the way it was handled.  I’m not supposed to say this, but I was not guilty of any crime.  I became a target because I was a strong and a rich woman who had been very successful.”

On her admiration for Hillary Clinton:

MS: “I admire Hillary greatly, her inner strength.  She did a phenomenal job as secretary of state.  The best thing of all was the way she treated her husband.”

Most wives would have left him.

MS: “Well, I wouldn’t have.  Hillary was married to the president.  Walking out on him when he’s stupid would’ve shown weakness and self-centeredness.  She saved him, her self-respect, and her daughter.  She didn’t cut the family asunder.  As a result, she gained his respect forever.”

Will she write her autobiography?

MS: “Of course.  I have my title and everything.  I’ve led such an interesting and complicated life that it’s getting to be time to record it.”

MORE:  How does Martha feel about Internet dating sites?  And has she ever met a man online?  Find out at PARADE

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