America's dethroned style queen Martha Stewart, now attempting to reclaim her royal seat after serving five months in jail and a similar period under house arrest, has decided to battle for her good name in the civil courts.

Sentenced in 2004 for lying about her sale of ImClone Systems' stock, Stewart served her time in the federal women's prison in Alderson, West Virginia, since when she has been under the shadow of a civil lawsuit by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Until last Friday it was uncertain whether she would opt to settle the SEC suit, thereby effectively admitting her guilt - a move that would bar her from holding formal office in her own exploitation corporation, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia - or tough it out in the hope of proving her innocence.

Stewart's lawyers have now responded to the SEC complaint filed last Thursday with the US District Court in Manhattan [WAMN: 26-May-06].

The domestic diva has chosen to deny allegations that she used nonpublic information when she sold 3,928 shares of ImClone stock in December 2001, insisting that she "acted in good faith".

The case is likely to run for several weeks.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff