the talking dog

March 5, 2004, What to make of the Martha Stewart Guilty Verdict?

Well, maybe you can make a get well card for Attorney General Ashcroft, who was admitted to the hospital, with gallstone complications. (Being a liberal, I don't wish pain and/or death upon those with whom I disagree on political matters; I may disagree across the board with our Attorney General, but I wish him a speedy recovery nonetheless).

All of my Martha testimony jokes went for naught when her defense team (widely regarded as awful, though the Unseen Editor feels they were excellent, but that a "fix was in" to get Martha) decided not to put her on the stand. Hence no "what can you make of Government Exhibit 14? I can tear here, here... yes-- a lovely... doily set... for six... also usable as... coasters." Instead, the Martha Stewart Living Inside jokes can begin immediately. (Interestingly, I have a namesake who is also an attorney in New York, who evidently has been widely quoted regarding this case, insofar as he is a former federal prosecutor; interestingly, I worked for the Justice Department several years prior to... that Seth Farber; I figured all of this out some time after I gave a lengthy "deep background" interview to someone at ABC News regarding the Stewart case-- stupid me thought he found me via the blog!)

For the kazillionth time: Martha Stewart, who, presumably, failed to insulate herself from criminal liability with large enough contributions to the RNC and Bush-Cheney 2000 (See e.g. one Kenneth Lay), had the misfortune to have been involved with Mr. Waksal, a real live corporate criminal. (Worse still, Martha was a notorious donor to, dare I say it, the Democratic Party and Democratic causes.) Martha, as a former stock broker and famous person, supposedly should have known better. (Also, I understand that she was an unconscionable ball breaker in real life, from the East Hampton bureau of the talking dog's private central intelligence agency. Of course, so it seems, is most of the summer population of the Hamptons; Martha isn't Lizzy Grubman: its not like she almost killed anyone.)

But for her high profile (and that... giving to Democrats thing) I find it extremely unlikely that she would have been prosecuted for this-- what amounts to an original charge of "lying" about her own innocence of an insider trading allegation that has since been dismissed led to charges that she misled prosecutors investigating said dismissed charge... similar to (in some ways) perjuring oneself regarding a collateral matter of a collateral sexual liaison in a dismissed sexual harassment lawsuit?

Don't get me wrong: what Bill Clinton did was perjury for the most pathetic of reasons: to give himself a monetary advantage in a civil action; as I have said many times, he could have defaulted in the action, or simply answered "a gentleman doesn't answer such questions-- go ahead and sanction me". (Having been caught (evidently, literally) with his pants down, a better man would have resigned in disgrace, and incumbent President Al Gore would now be in his second term.) Martha Stewart was apparently convicted because of someone's notes about what she said in a meeting, which evidently conflicted with someone else's notes.

In both cases, Inspector G'avert (G as in GOP) took over, and relatively minor transgressions were made extraordinarily high profile federal cases (the Clinton case nearly bringing the country to a stop). Let me just say there is a certain (highly partisan) mean-spiritedness about all this.

So what's this about? As by definition with anyone named "Bush" in the White House, trillions-- that's with a t, boys and girls-- of dollars in wealth disappeared from the face of the Earth, and miraculously, Bush family friends and relatives managed to profit handsomely while everyone else was losing their shirts...

In the first Bush Administration, that meant a total real estate collapse mostly from S&L's making loans against overvalued properties in just one state (hint: its called Texas), but somehow, "businessman" Neil Bush managed to score millions of dollars out of it anyway, while the government is still paying for the bailout of such entities as "Silverado Savings and Loan" (recall that the poster child villain of that era was not Mr. Bush, but one Charles Keating-- who met with the "Keating Five", one of whom included the sainted John McCain).

By the early '00's, it wasn't so much Bush family members as Bush family friends that figured out the global-sized scam: hence, trillions in value disappeared from the Earth amidst a total stock collapse caused mostly from overvalued tech and telecom companies that, in numerous cases were supported by fraud; somehow "businessman" and close GWB friend Kenneth Lay has managed to avoid his criminal comeuppance for it, despite his own company costing shareholders and creditors billions.

Is Kenny in the dock? Nope. Just his underlings.

Oh-- and Martha Stewart goes down for a convoluted connection to an $80 thousand transaction. What a perfect poster child for stock fraud in America that cost investors and creditors trillions of dollars.

Hey-- don't get me wrong. She's just been found guilty, so whatever it is she's accused of, a jury bought it. I just quibble at the choice of prosecution targets. Just note how far, far away these targets are from... Bush associates (or, of course, from people who actually profited in big time or major league ways).

I find all of this interesting, to say the least. Of course, that's just me...

Update: Martha's stockbroker Peter Bocanovich, convicted on four out of the five counts of which he was charged, becomes the second "celebrity" to emerge from my college class, joining Miguel Estrada, the first man whose judicial nomination was ever fillibustered.

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Woof. Martha was an idiot. A Democrat idiot, but still an idiot. And when she gets out of the slammer, she'll still be worth $100 million. My sympathy quotient is taxed right now, but I notice that Leona Helmsley survived prison quite nicely. Martha will be alright, even with a year or two of prison. She'll have more money than I, and I'll be sure to buy her book. I promise. I also promise that if we get a Democrat elected this year, I'll make a personal plea for her pardon. Fair?

Now, let's go get Ken Lay.

Posted by r. Houston Bridges at March 5, 2004 10:54 PM

No sympathy for Martha. At the same time, no props to the persecution. The only reason they came down on Stewart like a ton of bricks was to send the message that nobody is above the law. Except of course they don't want to actually rock the boat by going after anybody significant.

Posted by Angelica at March 6, 2004 12:18 AM

Except of course they don't want to actually rock the boat by going after anybody significant.

Former ImClone CEO Sam Waksal was sentenced to 7 years in prison for his role in the insider trading scandal that caught up with Martha Stewart. He was the highest man on the ladder, so I'd call him pretty "significant."

Posted by Lawrence at March 6, 2004 09:48 AM

Seven years is pissy for the ingighter of this debacle. While I have no great love for Martha Stewart (except her sheets are pretty good for the $$) and I have heard she is a not too nice person, I still think they should be more interested in the Enron gang of thieves - especially Ken Lay -- gee he might tell some ratty stuff on Cheney, ya think?

Cheney pisses me off ... almost as much as Ann Coulter - the witch -- nah, Cheney does not incite me to violence. Here is a tip ... if Coulter turns up bludgened with a mackerel or anything ... you might better check Granny's refrigerator for a fishy smell.

Back to Cheney, second underlord of darkness ... saw him on cable news denying the U.S. had anything to do with threatening life and limb of the president and family of Haiti (too lazy to look up name for spelling) forcing him to sign a resignation,then kidnapping him and taking him off to another country.

I did not know a thing about this situation except that Haiti was in crisis and we sent troops, until I watched some of the hearings (I think they started Wed) on CSpan this week. Try to catch the last (I think there were none afterward) set of panelists testifying ... it got pretty lively there for a while. And I learned a great deal that confirmed some of the horrible things I had been reading about U.S policy, and the intentions of the World Bank and the IMF to bankrupt countries around the world we are supposed to be helping.


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