Once an expert on "gracious living," Martha Stewart was convicted of conspiracy and obstruction of justice in a notorious insider stock trading case in 2004. Beginning with the 1982 publication of her book Entertaining, Stewart made a name for herself as an expert on home decorating, elegant weddings, and cooking and gardening, with an emphasis on rustic, do-it-yourself ingenuity. A former stockbroker herself, Stewart turned her small catering business into an empire that included books, a magazine and a syndicated television show, Martha Stewart's Living. Her distinctively upscale style and tremendous commercial success made her widely admired (as well as the subject of many parodies). Stewart took her company public in 1999, with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia listed on the New York Stock Exchange. In June of 2002 she became tangled in an insider trading scandal unrelated to her own company: she sold her shares of stock in the drug company ImClone one day before an FDA decision caused the stock to drop, and after she had been given insider information by broker Peter Bacanovic. The next year, on 4 June 2003, Stewart pleaded innocent to federal charges including obstruction of justice, conspiracy and making false statements. Her trial was held early in 2004, and on March 5th of that year she was found guilty of all charges in the case. She spent five months in a West Virginia prison and was released to house arrest in March of 2005. Later that year she began firing potential assistants in The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, a short-lived reality show spun off from Donald Trump's hit show The Apprentice, and jumped back into syndicated television with her own daytime talk show.
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