Should Bush Pardon Martha Stewart

Go ahead. Obstruction of justice and the document-tampering type things she was convicted of are federal crimes. I don’t think the SEC can let that kind of thing off with a slap on the wrist. And why should they anyway? Yes, it’s part of a crackdown and many worse offenders - like the Enron people - aren’t being punished. I fail to see why Martha should get off because of that.

Does anyone like her? I have a fairly skewed view hanging around this sort of board, giving me the impression that his best vote-winner would be to promise the death penalty for her… do enough of the 99.9999% of Americans I DON’T know like her enough to be swayed by this?

Another possible benefit would be a big donation (we’re supposed to be cynical here, right?)

I don’t see how it would make one bit of difference in November if Bush pardoned her or not. It’s not an issue of “how many Americans really like her”, as though millions of Americans are out here clamoring for the Prez to pardon her, and if he doesn’t, why, we’ll make our voices heard come November–nobody I know really likes her. She makes us feel just a teensy bit bad about ourselves because we don’t make placemats out of woven pine needles. She makes us feel ever so slightly inferior because we don’t import special Bab-O from Paris for the maid to use to scrub our copper-bottom saucepans. So we spend a few minutes every so often reading her column or her magazine for shits and giggles, then we put her back in the box and go on with our lives.

For the vast majority of us–speaking from the Heartland here–she’s just kind of “there”. She’s a personality, a celebrity, but outside of that, nobody out here really cares about her one way or another. Like Rick said, it’s just cheap-ass kitchen stuff, and it’s hard to get really worked up about a line of cheap-ass kitchen stuff.

“Her K-mart towels are really ugly”, that’s about the most heated it gets.

Actually, probably most people would prefer that she went to jail, since that’s more exciting for us in our dull little lives (“Rich Bitch Goes To Jail!”) than “Rich Bitch Gets Pardoned And Goes Back To Work Designing More Ugly Towels!”

Look, folks commit “federal crimes” all the time and prosecutors exercise discretion over whether to prosecute them. If you pay for your next haircut in cash and the barber sticks the money in his pocket so he doesn’t have to report it on his taxes, that’s a “federal crime” too. In theory, he could be prosecuted for it.

In my humble opinion, if the prosecuting authorities exercise their discretion by choosing to prosecute somebody because he or she is unpopular, or because they dislike the person, or because they want to showboat, that’s wrong.

Not just no, but Hell No!

There is no, nada, zip, zero reason for Bush to even mention this case.

Send her to prison? No, give her a slap on the wrist. Make her pay a big ass fine, house arrest for a year, restrict her from trading, and retiring from the Living corp. should be MORE than enough. Bush probably won’t pardon her but he might recommend the slap on the wrist thing. But, if she gets a long sentence instead, he might let her out. That would put her indebted to the Bushes! You don’t think they could make use of that.
Hell, she’d be HIS bitch forever, now “that’s a good thing.” :smiley:

How about making her be a domestic for all the people that lost their asses on Imclone.

IIRC, she’s a big-time Democrat, having shelled out lots of cash to Democratic campaigns. So, I don’t think that would ever happen.

You’re missing the point. If Martha Stewart had fessed up intially, she could have paid a fine and gotten a plea bargain for any criminal charges. She still faces a civil action by the SEC for her illegal profits.

What she was charged with in the criminal case was:

Obstruction of justice
Two counts of making false statements

Lying to investigators is taken very seriously and Joe Average would not get off if he covered up and lied about something similar.

Martha learned the lesson of politicians. It’s not the actual crime that counts so much, as the cover-up. If she had kept her mouth shut, she might have been fined, but no trial and no jail.

But we’re discussing the politcal gain for Bush, not the merits of the case.

Nope. The little people like to know that the big shots can be taken down. If you had been paying attention when you read Ayn Rand, you’d remember that! :slight_smile:

For what it’s worth, my brother-in-law (who used to do white collar criminal defense work) says that obstruction and similar charges are the classic charges that are filed against folks whom the government is targeting and looking for a crime on.

But like I said earlier, I have a family member who is a former assistant U.S. Attorney, and I intend to ask him this weekend if Martha was treated any differently than Joe Average would have been.

I’d say that a multimillion dollar fine on top of a decent stretch of working the soup line at the local Salvation Army would be proper, but I believe that sentencing guidelines require some jail time.

To me, it seems her biggest crime is being a successful female entrepreneur who let her ego get in the way of making rational decisions early in the investigation. If her empire tanks over $50K, it would be hard to say that justice was served. From that perspective, the moral thing to do would be a pardon, but since when has the greater good ever been a deciding factor in this administration?

I don’t know about the whole deal, it just seems insane to me to make the primary thrust of the prosecution center around what someone said in their defense rather than an actual initial crime. I know that prosecuters introduced full-page ads taken out by Ms. Stewart in the NYT (or some similar rag) saying that she was innocent of any wrongdoing. Is it now illegal to defend yourself from allegations made about you?

I haven’t been following the trial al that closely, and I realize that some of the charges related to this were thrown out, but it still strikes me as inappropriate.

Sure, if Ms. Stewart actively engaged in efforts to forge/alter/destroy documents or evidence, sure, prosecute away. But for just maintaining your innocence? It seems to me as if the prosecutors were at least sightly motivated when they chose to go after Ms. Stewart.

No political reason. But there’s an ethical reason at least for the lying. A government official is allowed to lie. “The other guy says you did it, so you might as well 'fess up.” Why should ordinary citizens be held to a higher standard than citizens with political power?

Oh, they’ll get Lay, conspiracy theories by persons such as yourself aside. They already got Fastow, and Skilling’s trial is coming up. After they get Skilling (they will), they might have enough to go after Lay.

This is complicated stuff – it’s difficult to explain to juries what happened, and more difficult still to explain how the shenanigans rose to the level of crimes, and difficult to explain how the crimes resulted in harm that would not otherwise have occurred (which is to say, juries will ask themselves “If Enron/Worldcom/Adelphia/whoever had done all this stuff on the up and up and disclosed it and crossed their T’s and dotted their i’s, they’d still have gone bankrupt, right?”). Better to take one’s time and get it right than rush in and lose the case.

It is not illegal to defend yourself from allegations made about you. It is illegal to lie to federal officers, obstruct a criminal investigation, and conspire with your stockbroker to cover-up possible illegal transactions. I don’t understand what is so hard to grasp about that concept. Ms. Stewart did not just “maintain her innocence”, she lied to federal authorities.

So what? They lied to her, too.

Cite please.


It does seem a bit unjust that someone can be in worse trouble for their deeds done in defense AFTER the “crime” was committed. If I get pulled over for speeding and claim that I wasn’t speeding, I could be charged with lying to a police officer. If I take it to court, after dragging it out as long as possible, and provide questionable evidence that radar detectors aren’t reliable and the judge dismisses the evidence. I might then be charged with obstruction. What about my denying that I was speeding in court? “I am innocent your honor, I wasn’t speeding.” That’d be perjury wouldn’t it?
So I could be in a far worse situation rather than if I just sucked it up and paid the fine.

I’m glad that isn’t the case, if that were true, jeez I hate to think about it. As faulty as our legal system can be…it’s still better than anything I’ve run across. House arrest, probation, and fines ought to be enough in this case.

My defense if I’m ever in a similar situation, never speak other than to provide identification for the police. After that, the lawyer does all the talking. He can lie and get away with it. :wink:

Benefits to the Bush administration, it really doesn’t matter what GWB does or doesn’t do. Some folks will defend him whatever he does and others (like me) wouldn’t like him if he had a halo and wings. Well maybe then. :smiley:

The only benefit the Bushes could acquire through a pardon would be personally and later. He’s not going to be in office forever.