I’m really annoyed by the Martha Stewart convictions. I don’t know what her appeals will be about, but I hope she wins.
I don’t really blame the jury much. I think they probably were trying to follow the law as it was presented to them. It would have been nice if the jury would have voted to acquit, under the long-standing tradition of jury nullification, but that’s a lot to ask of them.
I blame the government for bringing this case against her, to make her a high-profile scapegoat, in order to create a public perception that they were effectively controlling corporate corruption.
Her “crime” was to lie to the government when they asked her about why she sold her ImClone stock. It may have been because she was told by her broker’s assistant that the president of the company was selling his stock. Anybody would have sold under those conditions, and anybody would try to avoid being made a victim by a government eager to find one. Maybe she lied, but why she sold her stock was none of the government’s business! Selling stock under those conditions has never even been established as a crime! Stewart was not an officer of ImClone and had no fiduciary responsibility to its other stockholders. The government didn’t think they could convict her of the crime of selling the stock, so they charged her with lying about something that they couldn’t even charge her with!
I’ll feel so much safer when a dangerous criminal like Martha Stewart is off the streets!!!
Here’s a good Reason Magazine article outlining the main issues from last year. And here’s a page with lots of coverage of the trial itself.