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“Dear Friends: I am obviously distressed by the jury’s verdict but I continue to take comfort in knowing that I have done nothing wrong and that I have the enduring support of my family and friends.” Martha Stewart (1)

On March 5, 2004, Martha Stewart was found guilty of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and making false statements due to well-timed stock sale. Neither Stewart nor her former stockbroker, Peter Bacanovic, testified at the trial, which ran for five weeks. Stewart resigned as Chairman and CEO of Martha Stewart Living after she was indicted, but stayed on as Chief Creative Officer.

Stewart’s career began as a catering business in the late 1970s, and she was soon recognized as an excellent gourmet chef. She entered the publishing world in 1982 with her first book, Entertaining, which is now in its 30th printing. In 1991, Stewart and Time Publishing Ventures launched Martha Stewart Living as a quarterly magazine, and a year later, Martha Stewart Living TV launched as a weekly half-hour syndicated show.

After the conviction, Stewart stated, “I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all the words of encouragement I have received from thousands of supporters. It is your continued support that will keep me going until I am completely exonerated.”

Martha Stewart is one of the few business figures who can still claim widespread popularity after a highly publicized scandal. Stewart rejoined the board of directors of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia in 2011 and became Chairman of her namesake company again in 2012.

Written by Emily Malis, Stylitics Ambassador from Georgia Tech

Sources 1, 2, 3

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