Sunday, March 07, 2004

Martha Stweart Redux...
Okay, best as I can tell, Martha was convicted of lying about something that normally would not have been a crime in the first place? Does this make sense to anyone out there?

Let's see, her broker gets some information that another client is dumping his/her stock in his/her own company. He passes that information along to Martha. So far, so good. There ain't nothing illegal going on yet.

Martha then dumps the same stock after making a telephone call to the guy who owns the company. SHe makes a grand total of about $45,000 on it. Wow, big whoops. I'm sure Dennis Kozlowski spent more on underwear in a week.

Somehow the Feds get on her case. She panics. Although she hasn't done anything wrong, she goes ahead and conspires with her broker -- if anyone asks, we had a standing stop-loss order for when the stock hit $60 a share, okay? The Broker, knowing where his bread is buttered, does what his client asks him to do. After all, it's only 45 grand and it's not like the firm is going to punish him for it (compliance departments are mainly for show these days), and the Feds will probably only fine her if they get caught. The conspiracy is to cover the possibility that someone might raise an eyebrow. It's for show.

In come the Feds. They can't get Martha for anythig she's done. Her broker (or his assistant) made the first call after all, she was just acting on good information. No harm, no foul. However she still gets the shaft for committing perjury in a case that normally wouldn't even pass the smell test. Thank the jury for that.

So now it's a crime to lie about not committing a crime?

Prediction: Martha walks on appeal.

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