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Martha Stewart Asks to Get Jail Over With

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  • Martha Stewart Asks to Get Jail Over With

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Homemaking icon Martha Stewart on Wednesday said she wants to start serving her jail sentence for lying about a suspicious stock sale as soon as possible, so she can put her "nightmare" behind her and be home in time to plant her garden for spring.

    Stewart told a news conference she did not want to wait for the appeal process, which could take a year, and wanted to reclaim her good name and her personal and professional life.

    "I want to put this nightmare behind me," said the 63-year-old Stewart, who built a business empire instructing Americans how to bake pies, organize their cupboards and tend rose bushes. "I want to reclaim my good life and good works."

    The surprise decision boosted shares of Stewart's beleaguered Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. (MSO.N: Quote, Profile, Research) , as investors hoped the move could quickly restore her to the helm of her namesake firm. The company's shares rose 41 cents, or 3.68 percent, to $11.55 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday afternoon.

    Stewart was convicted in March, and in July was sentenced to five months in jail and five months of house arrest, the lightest term allowed by law.


    Stewart remained free while pursuing her appeal, but said Wednesday she wanted to serve her sentence sooner rather than later even as she maintained her innocence.

    "While I and my attorneys firmly believe in the strength of (my) appeal, recent delays and extensions have now made it abundantly clear that my appeal will not be heard until sometime next year. So I have decided to serve my sentence now," she said in a brief appearance at her company's airy Manhattan loft offices during which she was composed but shed some tears.

    America's best-known home decorating expert said she will miss her dogs, cats, canaries and horses, and even her chickens.

    "I hope too that I will be able to begin serving my sentence in the very near future because I would like to be back as early in March as possible in order to plant the spring garden," she said.

    Stewart's decision is unusual for someone pursuing an appeal, said Fordham University law professor Jim Cohen.
    - The baby will be back -