Martha Asks MSLO to Pick Up Her $3.7m Legal Tab

12 November 2004

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, the commercial exploitation vehicle of jailed US style queen Martha Stewart, has been invited by its eponymous figurehead to pick up the legal tab for her unsuccessful defence against charges of lying to US federal investigators.

The request came to light as a result of the publicly quoted company's filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Her claim for $3.7 million (€2.86m; £2.0m) is to be referred to an independent expert who will decide whether the company - or its insurers - should foot the bill.

MSLO shareholders, an unappy breed given the company's current dire performance, have reason to hope the arbitrator will take into account that Stewart's felony of was a personal rather than corporate nature.

It centred around the diva's lies to investigators over her sale of shares in a biotech company just one day before the release of adverse information concerning one of its key products.

But a New York court declined to accept Stewart's claim that the sale was automatically triggered by an earlier agreement with her personal stockbroker at Merrill Lynch - who now also languishes as an unwilling guest of the US government.

Some see Stewart as an unlucky innocent who swam unguarded in the shark-infested waters of stocks and shares. They are forgetful that until the accusations surfaced their heroine was a board director of the New York Stock Exchange - the largest such institution in the world.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff