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This just in: Martha guilty on all charges. nt

by Dan McC / March 5, 2004 4:12 AM PST

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NT - Woops. You beat me. Sorry Mary Kay... :-)
by Blake Cook / March 5, 2004 4:32 AM PST
In reply to: Re: link
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WOW! I really thought she was going to get away with it...
by Blake Cook / March 5, 2004 4:30 AM PST

Here's a link...

"NEW YORK (AP) - Martha Stewart was convicted Friday of obstructing justice and lying to the government about a superbly timed stock sale, a devastating verdict that probably means prison for the woman who epitomizes meticulous homemaking and gracious living.

The jury of eight women and four men deliberated three days before convicting Stewart of all counts against her. The charges carry up to 20 years in prison, but Stewart will almost certainly get much less than that under federal sentencing guidelines.

Her ex-stockbroker, Peter Bacanovic, 41, was convicted on all but one count against him, filing a false document.

Stewart, 62, grimaced as each count against her was read. Her eyes appeared to widen slightly. Her daughter, Alexis Stewart, was in tears.

Sentencing was set for June 17."

Martha Stewart Convicted of All Counts...

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Re: thought she was going to get away with it... - me too

Hi, Blake.

I thought she was almost certainly guilty, but I also thought (from the news coverage) that the evidence was too weak to support conviction when a unanimous vote beyond a reasonable doubt was required.

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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Richly deserved IMO.
by Kiddpeat / March 5, 2004 4:34 AM PST

Fame and wealth should not get one a pass for breaking the law.

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Kenny Boy...
by Blake Cook / March 5, 2004 4:56 AM PST
In reply to: Richly deserved IMO.
Fame and wealth should not get one a pass for breaking the law. - Kiddpeat

I wonder when Kenny Boy will get his day in court? Or does he get a pass due to his connections???
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I don't think any of them will get a pass from Bush or Ashcroft, but,
by Kiddpeat / March 5, 2004 5:05 AM PST
In reply to: Kenny Boy...

if Kerry gets elected, ..... Let's put it this way, one of Clinton's last political acts was a whole raft of pardons including some pretty slimy characters.

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Time Will Tell...
I don't think any of them will get a pass from Bush or Ashcroft - Kiddpeat

We'll see. But since the Martha Stewart case came along long after the Enron fiasco and Kenny Lay has yet to be charged with anything, I really have my doubts that he has anything to worry about as long as GW is pResident. Time will tell...
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The Fall Guy...
Note that it took a long time to indict former Illinois Governor George Ryan, but it finally happened. - Kiddpeat

I see a lot of talk about Jeffrey Skilling, who wasn't a good friend of GW, like Kenny Boy. Jeffrey Skilling may take the fall for Enron, but why haven't any charges been lodged yet against the top dog Kenny Boy Lay? There should be more than enough evidence to do so...
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Yes, that would be brilliant. Charge the guy BECAUSE he had
by Kiddpeat / March 6, 2004 12:09 AM PST
In reply to: The Fall Guy...

a relationship with President Bush, and BEFORE every avenue for building a case against him has been exhausted. How long would it take to get that thrown out of court? What's the rush? Who knows what Skilling may yet decide to do?

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Time will tell ...
by Evie / March 6, 2004 10:38 PM PST
In reply to: The Fall Guy...

... on "Kenny Boy". You have no evidence to back up your charge of Bush shielding him, but then since when have facts and verifiability ever been of much importance to you?

Funny how nobody is making the connection between this corrupt woman (in your estimation) and her prominent ties to and fundraising for Hillary Clinton and the Democrat party.

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That's the drill, Kiddpeat...

Kiddpeat, that's a fairly normal drill. Investigate until you've got a "mortal lock" on an underling and "flip" him for a lessing of the charges. When he starts spilling his guts, follow the leader to the next card in the card house.
What some people forget is that Enron did not come into existence in the year 2000, Lay was quite friendly with Clinton. When the house of cards collapses, the cards fly everywhere.

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I hope she gets a light sentence.
by James Denison / March 5, 2004 2:18 PM PST

If she is guilty, the amount she saved due to the trade was only 50,000 which is chump change to her. This is not Leona Helmsley. If she gets any jail time they will probably give her a country club type of jail. If they treat her harshly, she will still have a lot of money when she gets out.

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No Special Treatment...
by Blake Cook / March 5, 2004 3:44 PM PST
I hope she gets a light sentence. If she is guilty, the amount she saved due to the trade was only 50,000 which is chump change to her. - James Denison

Why does it matter how much the amount affects Martha? Do rich people deserve lower penalties just because they can afford to spend more than most? How much time would you and I receive if we were convicted of this charge? Should we be penalized more simply because we have less money than Martha? I don't get your logic James...

I hope they throw the book at Martha to send a signal to the wealthy that they could do a considerable amount of time if they get caught breaking the law. These people put their pants on one leg at a time just like everyone else and they deserve no special treatment for being rich and/or famous. When these people believe that they are above the law, then it encourages them to break the law...
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Re:No Special Treatment...
by Roger NC / March 5, 2004 8:06 PM PST

"I hope they throw the book at Martha to send a signal to the wealthy that they could do a considerable amount of time if they get caught breaking the law. These people put their pants on one leg at a time just like everyone else and they deserve no special treatment for being rich and/or famous. When these people believe that they are above the law, then it encourages them to break the law..."

While she has been found guilty and shouldn't "skate" just because she's rich and/or famous, neither should she be made a signal to someone else by being give a harsher sentence than would be normal for the offense. I've wonder a few times if the reason she was prosecuted so eagerly was because it was sure to generate more publicity than many accused of doing much more damage to others financially.

RogerNC

click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

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Re:No Special Treatment...
by Mary Kay / March 5, 2004 10:01 PM PST

No she doesn't deserve special treatment.( That includes making an example of her.) She deserves a light sentence that fits the crime and not one stiffer than some murders and armed robbers get.

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Come on! Nobody really believes...
by crowsfoot / March 5, 2004 11:30 PM PST

that the big players in the market have EVER played it straight or EVER WILL! Insider information is the norm. It's so gray with degrees that there is no hope of operating anywhere close to the ideal that the law propagandizes. And if'n you believe that smacking Martha down will scare anybody into closing their ears or their mouths, I have a bridge for sale - cheap!

Equal fair access to information is the "Big Lie" at the heart of capitalism just as classlessness is the big lie in communism. It's warm and fuzzy and lets us sleep at night all cozy and justified.

Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences - "Markets with asymmetric information"

No doubt they're going to get her. They've got to. But puttin' Martha away won't "send a signal". It'll just be a little old band-aid on our blankie. Cheatin' is just too much fun!

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Re:Come on! Nobody really believes...
by Evie / March 5, 2004 11:57 PM PST

Hey Bob,

The thing that gets me is that she wasn't even charged with insider trading anyway. This was all about lying to investigators, and had nothing to do with her own company anyway. Compared to Skilling, Adelphia and the WorldCom things she is such small potatoes it bewilders the mind. Blood in the water, gotta do something to save face!

The really sad thing is that the FDA leak about Erbetux was never investigated. THAT is the story. THAT is the person who violated the public trust. Doesn't make it right, but with the knowledge, I can't really blame people poised to lose millions for selling their stocks. But really, anyone who invested in Imclone knew the risk and the dependence on that drug's approval. No investors were really defrauded in that sense. A world of difference between that and the collapses of Enron, WorldCom, etc. Stewart was stupid. I think she just made an impulsive decision to save some money. But it's easy for us to sit here and say that with all her millions (self made!) she should have watched hundreds of thousands of dollars go down the drain.

If there were equal application of the law here, she would never have had to deal with this. She is a big fish who was a minnow in that deal. Just like Rush is a big name who is being prosecuted for "crimes" they never prosecute. He's a teensy minnow in the abuse of prescription drugs, but because he is a big fish with a target on his back in other arenas it's tempting for politically motivated prosecutors to try and take him down.

Evie Happy

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I think you've really got this one wrong Evie.
by Kiddpeat / March 6, 2004 12:39 AM PST

It's not unusual for insiders to have inside information. That's why they are insiders. I don't know how the FDA works, but I wouldn't be surprised if the information in question is routinely disclosed to the company. It could also have been an innocent error. For example, 'This is what we see. Can you tell us anything that will change our minds?'. Of course, with other types of companies, the information is coming from within anyway and is available to insiders.

Imclone may have been a risky investment, but that risk was removed for Martha when she acted on inside information. She stole from whoever bought her shares and who was left holding the bag. She probably wasn't charged with insider trading because she got the info indirectly through her broker. The really DUMB thing was lying about it after the SEC started investigating.

The integrity of the markets is key to their operation. People have to be confident that everyone has the same opportunity for access to information. As Bob indicated, it's hard to believe that the big players don't have more information than the ordinary person. They probably do, so it's critical that everyone have the same opportunity for access. That no one gets inside info. The SEC constantly monitors for evidence of inside info trading, and comes down hard when they find it. Are they sending a message? Absolutely! Try it, and they'll do their best to nail you to the wall!

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Re:I think you've really got this one wrong Evie.
by Evie / March 6, 2004 1:03 AM PST

Hi KP,

I distinctly remember the FDA flap around when this happened. The FDA's part in this is the KEY, and that it hasn't been investigated and prosecuted is the real story of corruption here. No, the FDA should not be able to influence stock prices by leaking in advance to the company execs.

What she did just isn't insider trading. If it was I'm sure they would have brought the charges and let the judge throw them out (like that other bogus charge they did bring) for lack of evidence. That they didn't tells me something about the laws she did and didn't break.

I'm not supporting what Martha did do. Just saying that it doesn't rise to the treatment she has been handed.

Evie Happy

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I think we've got to agree to disagree on this one.
by Kiddpeat / March 6, 2004 2:08 AM PST

The FDA clearly has to talk to the company, and that means the company execs are told. I don't think the FDA tries to influence stock prices. If they did, I agree that would be REAL news. However, the company execs have the legal and ethical responsibility to make sure inside information stays inside. The responsibility can't be passed off to the FDA.

If company execs do disclose inside info, those to whom it's disclosed have the legal and ethical responsibility to not act on it and to not further disclose it. Martha made her trade based on the knowledge that the Imclone guy was dumping his stock. The rest of the market did not have that info. IMO, that's a violation of her ethical obligation, and fits the spirit if not the letter of inside trading.

Happy

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That's fine ...
by Evie / March 6, 2004 3:28 AM PST

... but I do think you are basing at least part of your opinion on faulty knowledge of the FDA approval process. While in the interim, it may be impossible for the FDA not to telegraph its leanings to the company, the bottom line is that the execs and everyone else is supposed to find out about the approval/denial at the same time -- with the public announcement by the FDA. It is not routine or proper for the FDA to tell a company of its decision ahead of time! This is what happened here as concerns Waksyl.

I'm not defending Martha's actions. To the contrary. I believe she was wrong. But I also believe she has been unjustly targeted and the prosecution/penalty doesn't jive with what would be similar had she not been Martha.

Imclone was pretty much founded and funded on the basis of the promise of this drug. Every investor knew that the stock price hinged on approval/rejection of the application. Martha dumping her stock did not impact other shareholders in the same manner as the cooked books in the public disclosures of the Enron's. Even Waksyl's actions were not anywhere near what the book cookers at Tyco, Enron, WorldCom, etc. did. It really wouldn't have mattered what he did with his stock, the price was gonna tank when the rejection occurred. He just didn't lose his investment. Yeah, that's unethical, illegal and a whole lot of bad things, but other investors just didn't get the tip to save theirs. Not quite the same as thinking they were in a solid company based on financial disclosures and then finding the company going belly up!

Evie Happy

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That could be. I don't know anything about the FDA, so I'm guessing
by Kiddpeat / March 6, 2004 4:24 AM PST
In reply to: That's fine ...

how they operate. However, even if there was an improper leak (which, in that case, should be investigated), everyone involved is still obliged to refrain from disclosing or acting on the information. I think the FDA aspect was not particularly relevant to the case. As I said, it is normal for company management to have inside information. The FDA aspect is simply not relevant even though they were the source of the information.

Regarding the other investors. Martha did not steal from the other investors. They were locked in to whatever was going to happen. She stole from whoever bought her stock. They were not aware of the certain loss that the stock faced. She was.

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Watching the Players
by James Denison / March 6, 2004 11:15 AM PST

Watching the players in a company's stock is a time honored practice. It doesn't bother me that Martha Stewart would do the same. The Imclone "guy" was the inside trader, not Martha. If you see someone running from a house and smell smoke, aren't you going to get out too? All of this with Martha is very small potatos and makes me wonder WHY she's been prosecuted so hard. Is it because she's a woman?

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Re:I think we've got to agree to disagree on this one.
by Roger NC / March 6, 2004 8:42 PM PST

Martha sold her stock on the basis of a phone call from brokerage that hotshot at the company was dumping his right?

Ok, ideally after getting the call she should have called SEC and not made any moves for xxx hours. Yeah right.

Ok, so she might be guilty of breaking the rules and have to pay a price. However, the guy at the company is the first and primary rulebreaker, for acting on priveleged information he had.

The the stock broker that ordered the call and the one that made it (who traded testimony for a deal I believe?) are the next two in the guilty line in terms of degree of cupribility.

Your broker calls you and tells you the CEO, president, whatever of a company you own a few thousand dollars worth of stock is dumping and you're not going to dump yours?

Her major guilt, far below theirs IMO, is trying to deny it when the investigations started. Most people are going to react then be tempted to try to cover it up. Bill and Monica, Nixon and watergate, for a couple of examples of what coverup can do for you.

She may have acted like she was too important or whatever and got the investigators then the prosecuters determined to make an example of her. Whatever reason, she became the one thrust into the lime light, not the rest.

Because of her celebrity status, her charges and trail got all the attention, not the guys who illegally fed her the information or the man acting on privileged information that started it all.

IMO, they're guilty of a lot worse actions than she is, and sentences should reflect that.

RogerNC

click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

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I agree as far as you go. She's a little (Leona Helmsly) sacrificial fish. A little salve.
by crowsfoot / March 6, 2004 1:05 AM PST

The bigger thing is that equal, fair access to information is impossible. NOT acting on illegally gotten information is dishonest and basically a cover-up (though absolutely necessary and common to keep the myth alive). Thing is, us capitalists are pretty darn smug about: "What's mine is mine. I EARNED it." Really and truly, there ought to be two separate kinds of money. Labor money, and capital money. All these bickerings of slime-ball rich-folk and their "ethical/unethical" mastications ought not have so much influence over the economic lives of the real people who live in and deal only with God's own physical Green Earth. Bunch of damn parasites on the backs of honest labor anyway!

"Eat The Rich!"

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Really now Bob ...

... I would think you would have more empathy for someone like Martha who DID get her start with honest labor. I would dare say she made a nice living possible for many of her employees, KMart's employees, the laborers that made her goods, etc. And she made the lives of a few poor souls a little better to be able to buy quality merchandise for a fair price, and maybe pull off just a little "society" by putting together a few Martha spreads.

Evie Happy

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I loves "Martha my dear"! Sympathy for her I got.
by crowsfoot / March 6, 2004 3:58 AM PST
In reply to: Really now Bob ...

And bless her little heart for trickling on us'un's.
Throw ALL the rest of the cheaters in there with her, is what I say.

Wink

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Martha was that refreshing break, sort of a female Charles Kuralt.
by James Denison / March 6, 2004 3:16 PM PST
In reply to: Really now Bob ...

She made her money mainly by putting her audience back in touch with the simpler pleasures in life. Yeah, at times it was escapism, but so was Walton's Mountain, or Little House on the Prairie.

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