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The Martha Stewart Scandal: A Tempest in a Cuisinart...
Martha Stewart on trialWHEN: The Martha Stewart case timeline

Below is a comprehensive timeline of events that detail the evolution of Martha’s case, from the day she sold her ImClone stock to the present.

Thanks to Andrew Ritchie for his diligent research


Dec. 27, 2001: Martha and some friends (including Mariana Pasternak) fly in her private jet to San Jose del Cabo, Mexico. The plane lands in San Antonio, Texas, to refuel when Martha takes the opportunity to return some calls.

Dec. 27: At 1:41 p.m. Martha returns a call from her broker’s office at Merrill Lynch and authorizes the sale of nearly 4,000 shares of biotech drug maker ImClone Systems Inc. Two minutes later at 1:43 p.m. assistant broker to Peter Bacanovic, Douglas Faneuil, executes the sale.

Dec. 28: The Food and Drug Administration says it will not review ImClone's application for Erbitux, which the company touts as a promising cancer drug. Disappointing news sends ImClone's shares plummeting. Martha’s stock sale was worth $228,000, saving her a loss of $45, 673.


Jan. 7: Martha’s stock broker, Peter Bacanovic, and his assistant, Douglas Faneuil, are questioned by investigators regarding Martha’s ImClone stock trade.

Feb. 4: Martha is questioned by the SEC about her ImClone stock trade.

April, 2002: Christopher Byron’s unauthorized and unflattering biography of Martha called "Martha Inc. – The Incredible Story of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc." is released to mixed reviews. The book, which portrays Martha as a devious and ill-tempered woman, soon becomes a bestseller. Martha later announces she will indefinitely postpone the release of her autobiography, "Martha – Really and Truly," which had been scheduled for release in the fall of 2002.

June 6: "Sources close to a congressional investigation" leak rumors that the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is investigating ImClone trading, will probe Martha's stock sale. The Associated Press picks up on the story.

June 7: The New York Times runs a front page story about the new investigation into Martha’s stock trade and stock in Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia drops sharply.

June 12: Sam Waksal, cofounder and former C.E.O. of ImClone, and a close friend of Martha’s, is arrested and accused of advising family members to sell their shares before the FDA announcement, and of trying to dump his own shares. Martha denies receiving "improper information" from him before selling her shares.

June 25: Martha’s infamous cabbage-chopping interview with CBS This Morning host Jane Clayson causes a media feeding frenzy after Martha denies any wrongdoing in the case, saying she will be "exonerated of any ridiculousness" and adding that she’d like to simply focus on her salad. Martha subsequently cancels her appearances on the show.

July 8: Native New Yorker John Small launches in response to the inordinate amount of negative press about Martha and her case. The fan site has since logged over 20 million hits and has content contributors from all over North America.

July 24: Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. halves its third-quarter earnings forecast, acknowledging Martha's legal problems are taking a toll on business.

Aug. 3: Martha celebrates her 61st birthday at Skylands, her home on Mount Desert Island, Maine.

Aug. 7: Sam Waksal is indicted on charges of securities fraud.

Aug. 8: With news of Waksal’s arrest, stock in MSO reaches an all-time low with shares worth only $6.29, down nearly 60% since June.

Aug. 14: ImClone Systems Inc. sues Sam Waksal to recover the $7 million in severance that was paid to him when he resigned as C.E.O. of the company in the fall of 2001.

Aug. 20: Martha delivers 1,050 pages worth of documents pertinent to the investigation to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, one hour before her 4:00 deadline.

Aug. 23: A New York law firm files a class action law suit against Martha Stewart and the directors of her company, claiming they sold $79 million worth of shares before news of an insider-trading investigation caused the company's stock price to tumble. The lawsuit seeks to represent anyone who bought stock in Martha's company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, between January 8 and July 24.

Sept. 10: The House Committee asks the Justice Department to begin a criminal investigation into whether Martha knowingly lied to lawmakers. Her stock broker, Peter Bacanovic of Merrill Lynch and his assistant Douglas Faneuil are also implicated in the investigation.

Oct. 2: After initially telling the investigators that he supported Martha’s and Peter’s story, Douglas Faneuil pleads guilty to taking a payoff to keep quiet about an alleged insider stock trade and agrees to testify against Martha in exchange for a plea bargain. He is then absolved of any further prosecution.

Oct. 3: Martha voluntarily resigns from the board of the New York Stock Exchange. "I did not want the media attention currently surrounding me to distract from the important work of the NYSE and thus felt it was appropriate to resign," Martha said in a statement. NYSE Chairman and CEO, Dick Grasso, responded, "We are saddened to lose Martha Stewart…Our board will miss Ms. Stewart’s counsel and insight."

Oct. 15: Sam Waksal pleads guilty to six counts including securities fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to obstruct justice and perjury. Admits to tipping his daughter to dump ImClone stock, but does not implicate Martha.

Oct. 22: Martha is served a Wells Notice by the SEC, recommending that civil fraud charges be brought against her for alleged insider trading.

Oct. 31: Stewart's media company reports a 42 percent drop in third-quarter profits with declining ad sales in the company’s flagship magazine, Martha Stewart Living.

December: After months of declining TV ratings, thanks to impending charges, Martha cancels her annual Christmas TV special for the first time.


March 4, 2003: Her company reports its first-ever quarterly loss amid fallout from the investigation. Ad sales in Martha Stewart Living magazine are down 28% from the previous year.

April 30: Her company reports more losses, which are blamed on the continued insider-trading investigation, and forecasts additional losses.

May: A civil court allows the class action law suit against Martha Stewart and her company to proceed. A trial date is set for November 24.

May 19: Cybill Shepherd stars as Martha Stewart in the NBC film adaptation of Byron’s book "Martha Inc." The film, which portrays Martha as a shrewd and manipulative woman, becomes the #1 TV movie of 2003 to date. It re-airs two weeks later.

June 3: Omnimedia says federal prosecutors are seeking a criminal indictment against Martha "in the near future."

June 4: The U.S. Federal Government lays criminal charges against Martha and her stock broker, Peter Bacanovic. There are nine charges between them. Martha’s charges include 2 counts of making false statements, securities fraud, conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Peter’s charges include perjury, conspiracy and obstruction. Ironically, there is no criminal charge of insider trading, which was the basis of the initial investigation. If she is found guilty on all charges, Martha faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $2 million fine.

June 4: U.S. Attorney James B. Comey holds a large press conference telling reporters, "This case is about lying."

June 4: The SEC files civil charges against Martha and Peter, seeking an order requiring the duo to disgorge the losses she avoided through her allegedly unlawful trading, plus civil monetary charges.

June 5: Martha voluntarily resigns as Chairman and C.E.O. of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. "I love this company, its people and everything it stands for. I am stepping aside as Chairman and C.E.O. because it is the right thing to do," Martha says in a statement. Company president Sharon Patrick steps in as acting C.E.O. and company shareholder Jeffrey Ubben, an investment banker, is the acting Chairman. Martha is named Chief Creative Director of the company.

June 5: Since June of 2002, when the investigation was first made public, stock in MSO dropped from $19.23 a share to a little over $9 a share, a decline of 51% over a one-year period. Martha, in turn, loses nearly half her net worth, approximately $400 million, according to Martha.

June 5: At a cost of $79,000, Martha takes out a full-page ad in USA Today proclaiming her innocence: "After more than a year, the government has decided to bring charges against me for matters that are personal and entirely unrelated to the business of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. I want you all to know that I am innocent – and that I will fight to clear my name."

June 5: Martha launches, a website that espouses her innocence with letters written by Martha, messages from her attorneys, supportive notes from readers and articles by various media that defend her case. In two weeks the site registers 10 million hits with 55,000 letters of encouragement for Martha.

June 10: Sam Waksal is sentenced to 7 years in a federal prison and must pay $4 million in fines and back taxes.

June 19: After a brief hearing, and a court appearance by Martha and Peter, January 12, 2004, is set as the trial date for their case.

July 5: U.S. Attorney James Comey hires Karen Patton Seymour as lead prosecutor in the case against Martha and Peter. The judge in the case is Her Honorable Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum.

July 7: Martha hires PR guru Howard Rubenstein to help enhance her seriously tarnished image. Rubenstein’s former clients have included Michael Jackson, Donald Trump, Leona Helmsley and George Steinbrenner.

July 21: Martha’s lawyers appear in court and put forth motions urging the court to launch an investigation into the source of leaks about Martha’s case to the press before the facts had been properly assessed. The defense attorneys suggest that the U.S. Attorney’s Office be investigated, as well as the FBI, the SEC and the Justice Department.

July 23: Sam Waksal begins his 7 year sentence at Schuylkill Federal Correctional Institute in Minersville, Pa.

Aug. 3: Martha turns 62 and celebrates in Maine on Picnic Boat with a small group of friends and family.

Aug. 7: Martha Stewart Living magazine reports a 42.2% decline in ad pages and a 39.9% drop in ad revenues in its July issue. That's even worse than the magazine's year-to-date declines of 30.6% and 26.8%, respectively.

Sep. 8: Martha, who appears jubilant and energetic, begins a week-long promotional tour of Canada where her Everyday brand of merchandise is debuting at Sears. The brand is expected to generate over $300 million annually for Sears Canada.

Sep. 9: Citing a lack of resources and evidence, Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum denies the request made by Martha’s attorney’s to investigate the SEC, the FBI, the U.S. District Attorney’s Office and the Justice Department regarding suspicious leaks to the press about Martha’s case before charges had been made public.

Sep. 15: Because of falling TV ratings, six CBS affiliate stations move the Martha Stewart Living program from the coveted 9 a.m. time slot to a 2 a.m. timeslot, significantly reducing the number of Martha’s viewers. Replacing Martha Stewart Living is a cooking show called "Living it Up! With Ali and Jack." The new show subsequently bombs with embarrassing ratings.

Sep 28: Despite dogged controversy surrounding her upcoming trial, Martha is inducted into the Nutley, New Jersey Hall of Fame along with 8 other inductees.

October: Martha Stewart Living magazine cuts its ad rate base, citing a 22% decline in readership.

Oct. 5: An interview with Sam Waksal airs on "60 Minutes," a news digest program on CBS. Waksal is quoted as saying, "I got the impression that if they (the investigators) could have Martha they would be unbelievably happy campers…"

Oct. 6: Martha’s lawyers file a 122-page motion seeking to have two of the more serious charges against her dropped, saying they have no legal validity: obstruction of justice and securities fraud.

Oct. 6: Peter Bacanovic, Martha’s former Merrill Lynch stock broker who has been simultaneously charged in the ImClone case, puts forth a request to be tried separately from Martha.

Oct. 9: U.S. Federal Judge John Sprizzo calls the prosecution’s case "weak" and questions why Attorney General James B. Comey conducted his investigation so publicly. In a huge win, Martha’s attorneys are granted the opportunity to interview up to 14 key witnesses before they are called to testify during the trail in January. One such interviewee will be Douglas Faneuil, the prosecution’s star witness who has already admitted to lying to investigators and has changed his testimony several times.

Oct. 11: Douglas Faneuil pleads The Fifth before being interviewed by Martha’s lawyers, saying he refuses to be questioned before the trial begins. Martha’s lawyer, John Morvillo, calls the tactic "subterfuge."

Nov. 05: Prosecutors file a 105-page memorandum countering the defense’s claims that two of the counts against Martha should be dropped, saying she gave a "forceful, detailed and false explanation" about her actions. The prosecution asks the judge not to drop the charges.

Nov. 07: Martha is interviewed by Barbara Walters on ABC’s "20/20" in the first and only in-depth television interview about the effects of her impending trial since the scandal broke nearly 18 months ago: "It hurts a lot, Barbara. I’m hurting."November 7. The show is one of 20/20s highest rated of the year. SaveMartha receives over 10,000 e-mails in support.

Nov. 13: Shareholders in MSO stock drop their law suit against several Omnimedia staffers, including President and CEO Sharon Patrick and Vice President Gael Towey.

Nov. 13: Judge John Sprizzo sets a Dec. 5 hearing to decide if he will allow Martha Stewart's attorneys a chance at advance questioning of two Securities and Exchange lawyers who are to be key witnesses at her upcoming criminal trial. The judge may also compel Douglas Faneuil to submit to the defense’s pre-trial questions.

Nov. 18: Oral arguments begin. The defense argues that the securities fraud charge and the obstruction of justice charge be dropped. Prosecutors argue Martha knowingly and forcefully lied to investigators, and told stockholders she was innocent in order to prop up her company’s stock.

December 15: Prosecutors deliver names of unnamed co-conspirators to Martha Stewart's attorneys.

December22: Martha appears on Larry King Live, where her mother also makes an appearance to show support for her daughter. Martha says this is "the saddest Christmas ever" as she prepares for the trial.


january 6: Jury selection process begins with distribution of jury questionnaires.

January 20: Trial scheduled to begin with several days of jury selection. The trial is projected to last for six weeks.