Martha Dodges Media Mêlée At Jail Gates

11 October 2004

Body-swerving from a frenzied media pack, fallen style idol Martha Stewart [aka 55170-054] on Friday checked into the decidedly un-chic accommodation that will house her for the next five months.

Federal and state officers kept the road clear at the entrance to Alderson Federal Prison Camp in rural West Virginia as Stewart swept through the security gate at 6am in an unmarked vehicle.

A spokeswoman for the US Bureau of Prisons in Washington confided to the waiting press hordes that the 63-year-old multi-millionaire was treated no differently to any other new inmate: she was photographed, fingerprinted and strip-searched upon her arrival, and her personal items were inventoried.

She then donned what might well become the next fashionista fad: an understated khaki top and trousers with itty-bitty steel-toed boots. [On sale at Gap next week?]

USA Today reports that the empress of elegance will "sleep on a bunk bed in a building that houses sixty women and contains only two showers".

The newspaper quotes one Ron Rubottom, a leader of the guards union: "She's going to have to shower in an area that sixty other women are trying to use as well," gloated the jailer. "There'll be four or five toilets. Two sinks. She has to share a blow dryer, a curling iron."

Rubottom also confided that an inmate's skills are often considered in making work assignments. "If an inmate has food-service background, obviously we will try to use that inmate in that area," he said.

Meantime, devoted fans may be able to keep in intermittent touch with their heroine over the next five months. Says Stewart, via her website: "While I am away, my updates here will be less frequent, if not altogether impossible. She is looking forward to returning to work in March and enjoying "many brighter days ahead".

"But please know this change is only an unfortunate reflection of my current circumstances, and in no way diminishes my commitment to my life's work or to the friends, colleagues, customers and supporters who make it possible."

Stewart, a former director of the New York Stock Exchange, was convicted of lying to federal investigators over her abrupt disposal of ImClone stock just hours ahead of an announcement by the FDA that it had not approved Erbitux, the company's new anti-cancer drug.

Her attorneys have lodged an appeal and it is possible that her conviction may be overturned.

Data sourced from USA Today Online; additional content by WARC staff