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Martha Stewart is an American media mogul best known for her television show and magazine, Martha Stewart Living.
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Stewart was under investigation for selling hundreds of shares of ImClone Systems just prior to the Food and Drug Administration's refusal to approve the company's new cancer drug. The value of the stock dropped markedly after the FDA's announcement. Due to the investigation, Stewart resigned from the board of directors of the New York Stock Exchange in October, just four months after she had joined.
In June 2003, a 41-page indictment charged Stewart with securities fraud, obstruction of justice,
conspiracy and making false statements to prosecutors and the FBI. She pleaded innocent to all charges and stepped down as chair and CEO of her Omnimedia empire. In February 2004, a judge dismissed the securities fraud charge, but a jury found her guilty of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and two counts of making false statements. Martha Stewart was sentenced to five months in prison and fined $30,000 that July. She served the first part of her sentence at a minimum-security prison in Alderson, West Virginia, in October 2004.
Stewart was released from prison on March 4, 2005, just after NBC announced she would host two new shows: a daytime talk and how-to show and a spin-off of the reality show The Apprentice produced by Mark Burnett and Donald Trump. Stewart finished her sentence by serving five months of house arrest at her home in Bedford, New York.
While Martha Stewart's version of The Apprentice failed to attract enough viewers, her self-titled syndicated daytime program has been on the air since 2005. The company she established, Martha Stewart Omnimedia, continued to grow in new directions. The business added several non-Martha Stewart publications, including Everyday Food and Body + Soul.
Stewart's syndicated show moved to the Hallmark Channel in 2010, but it failed to develop enough of an audience to sustain the expensive-to-produce program. Hallmark canceled the show in 2012 because of low ratings. That fall, Stewart launched a new series on PBS called Martha Stewart's Cooking School.
In 2013, Stewart found herself inside a courtroom once again. Her company was engaged in a lawsuit with the department store chain Macy's over a contract dispute. Macy's sued Stewart and its retail rival J.C. Penney over Stewart's plan to open Martha Stewart brand boutiques inside Penney's stores.
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