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Martha Stewart Calls House Arrest ‘Hideous’

From Associated Press

Martha Stewart said in a new interview that her nickname in prison was M. Diddy, that house arrest is “hideous” and that her prosecution was about bringing her down “to scare other people.”

In the interview, Stewart told Vanity Fair magazine that she agrees with those who say her crime -- lying about a personal stock sale -- is far different from massive corporate scandals such as Enron Corp., WorldCom Inc. and Tyco International Ltd.

“Of course that is what it’s all about,” the magazine quotes Stewart as saying. “Bring ‘em down a notch, to scare other people. If Martha can be sent to jail, think hard before you sell that stock.”

Stewart is serving a five-month term of house arrest at her Bedford, N.Y., estate that followed the five months in a West Virginia federal prison. She is scheduled to go free early next month.

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“I hate lockdown. It’s hideous,” Stewart told the magazine.

Asked about the electronic monitoring bracelet she must wear on her ankle -- she has complained repeatedly that it irritates her skin -- Stewart said she knew how to remove it.

“I watched them put it on. You can figure out how to get it off,” the magazine quotes her as saying. “It’s on the Internet. I looked it up.”

According to the article, her publicist’s eyes “widened with alarm” when Stewart made the remark. The article did not say whether Stewart claimed ever to have actually taken the bracelet off.

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Still, Stewart appears to take house arrest very seriously, telling how she once phoned her probation officer to apologize when she arrived home two or three minutes late from an approved outing.

Stewart has two television shows planned for the fall season: a one-hour daytime talk show, “Martha,” and a version of the NBC reality show “The Apprentice.”

She told the magazine that her version of “Apprentice” would be different from Donald Trump’s, and that she did not want to be portrayed as mean and harsh. She said she would never say, “You’re fired.”

“We are trying to come up with other ways to say it,” she said. “For instance, if someone is from Idaho, I could say, ‘You’re back in Boise for apple-picking time.’ ”

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A federal appeals court is considering Stewart’s bid to overturn her conviction on charges that she lied about her sale of 3,928 shares of ImClone Systems Inc. stock in late 2001.

Asked in the interview whether she owes anyone an apology, Stewart said she was sorry for the “chaos” her prosecution caused but suggested she was not personally to blame.

“You can’t be sorry for something that -- let’s see, how can I say this? I’m on appeal. You don’t appeal if you think that you should be sorry,” she said.

The magazine reports that Stewart is hard at work renovating her Bedford home. She is allowed to leave Bedford 48 hours per week for work outings.

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In the interview, she even laughed at a joke made by Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show” -- that she could make a shiv, or small blade, out of a lamb shank.

“He was talking about me after I left, and -- I have to say -- Jon Stewart is even better-looking in person than he is on TV,” Stewart said. “I have such a crush on him.”


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