Stewart's co-defendant, Peter Bacanovic, is set to enter Nellis federal prison on
18 January 2005... located in the gambling mecca of the world -- Las Vegas, NV.
Martha Stewart should have waited to sell her ImClone stock, but not because holding ImClone shares would have prevented her fall from grace as a "good-living" icon. Had Stewart held her shares of ImClone until July 2004, her investment would have returned 38 percent above her cost, or $314,240 in profit.
By keeping ImClone, in hindsight, Stewart's six-months of legal battles would have been only a bad dream, nightmare in fact. Stewart, 62, receives five months prison time, five months under house arrest, and two years probation for lying about her sale of ImClone in December 2001. Prior to the 16 July sentencing, Stewart may have regretted her association with stockbroker, Peter Bacanovic, but more on the true villain in a moment.
Wannabe home decorators and party-givers followed Stewart's design in the 1990s. She was also the butt of many jokes during her 10 years in the spotlight television shows meant to encourage the home decorator in everyone to come "out of the closet." Two former employees of Stewart's popular television show told Think & Ask that Stewart was indeed a difficult boss; although they did respect her and did not think she deserved jail time for a game that male stock investors practice regularly.
After two delays, U.S. District Court Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum, 74, decided to put Stewart behind bars for her involvement with insider trading of ImClone. Robert G Morvillo, Stewart's personal attorney, issued a statement on 8 July expressing his disappointment that Cedarbaum rejected their request for a new trial without a hearing, "We continue to believe that the unprecedented double perjury -- by both a key government witness and a juror -- prevented Martha Stewart from receiving a fair trial," Morvillo said. Cedarbaum did however allow Stewart's legal team to file for appeal prior to her incarceration.
Stewart's error, according to court documents, is not that she sold ImClone when she learned the stock price could plummet, but that she lied to federal investigators. Cedarbaum also orders Stewart under house arrest for the first five months of her probation period and fined Stewart $30,000. Cedarbaum has said in the past that she does not support long prison terms, but that there is definitely a "shock value from being in prison in terms of really discouraging people," from breaking laws.
Cedarbaum is a former President Reagan appointed judge on the recommendation of former Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY.)
ImClone (IMCL) is a biopharmaceutical company. Stewart sold nearly 4,000 shares in December 2001 on the eve of an FDA report refuting that ImClone's cancer curing drugs were not as beneficial as the company claimed. After the FDA's ruling, ImClone shares fell from above $60 per share in December 2001, to below $10 mid-year 2002. However, ImClone at the time of Stewart's sentencing on 16 July rallies near $80 per share, and in the long run sees a bright future.
The true villain in the Stewart story is Peter Bacanovic. He misled Stewart and urged her to sell based upon short-term rumor. Bacanovic, 42, graduated from Columbia University in 1984; and earned a business degree from NYU in 1988. Bacanovic worked at ImClone prior to joining Merrill Lynch in 1993, and he was fired when the Stewart scandal broke. However, Bacanovic is popular on the social scene, with extraordinary looks, he was often seen escorting wealthy, older socialites to swank events in Manhattan. Due to his social skills and networking, Bacanvoic will be back as a consultant. That is after all, how good looking men who have no morals end up -- at the top.
Stewart's "co-defendant Peter Bacanovic" was given the same sentence -- five months in prison, five months home confinement, but he was only fined $4,000. The former stockbroker just made his biggest break yet. For leading investors astray he truly deserves more than the maximum penalty of 16 months behind bars along with a financial penalty greater than Stewart's. But... as the story goes in the social conscience, and glitz-driven United States, the better looking (of the two) Bacanovic simply lucked upon a forgiving judge.
In reading letters from fans on marthatalks.com, inevitably (or not), Stewart fans are disappointed with the road ahead for their design diva. Reader comments drip with sweet sentiment; perhaps that is indeed the type of fan Stewart desired.
Stewart is guilty of nothing more than what male business investors have practiced for decades. Would Donald Trump ever face the fate of Stewart? If we could sell stock on that bet, the value of shares would be as solid as Trump's ability to keep himself and his books out of the public eye. Think & Ask is not intimidated by anyone, so we can say that Trump is evil, Stewart is not. Stewart's biggest mistake may have been that she simply was not rich enough to secure her deals behind the shades of gray that Bacanovic and Trump use everyday.
Joseph Mc Fadden
"I do feel sorry for Martha. She didn't do anything others in her position of stature haven't done."
"Like Martha says, it is a sad day. We penalize women for doing what men do, she did not deserve to go to prison! That guy though, he should be hung."
New York City
"I love how you trash Bacanovic, he is a fag. He'll have a fun time in prison, I'm sure Mom Stewart can get some thrill from how those boys in jail will treat her stockbroker..."