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MARTHA STEWART (Did She handle her indictment responsibly? ) One of the biggest corporative scandals which shocked America was that of Martha Stewart. That was one of the numerous scandals which attracted the public attention both in the United States and abroad. The scandal of Martha Stewart and Im Clone got its publicity due to several reasons. First of all Martha Stewart is a popular TV star, secondly the case was connected with the health care. It was initially rather controversial issue associated with insider trading and the moral responsibility of Stewart as CEO for the unlawful actions.
It is very difficult to define if Martha Stewart was really involved into insider trading, or it is better to say if her actions could be qualified as insider trading. The insider trading presupposes the unauthorized usage of the closed corporate information. She was recommended to act by her broker Peter Bacanovic, a person who due to his professional duty was obliged to recommend taking this or that action at a stock exchange. The charge of Martha Stewart in insider trading is absolutely different from that of Enron which brought negative consequence for the entire economy and when the employees encouraged by the Enron management were hunting the corporate information in order to sell it and gain some income from their stock exchange activity.
The situation with Martha Stewart worsens by the fact she took her actions in the branch which is most painful for the public, in the health care related sector. On June 5, 2003 Martha Stewart and her former broker were indicted by federal prosecutors on charges of obstruction of justice and securities fraud. The SEC accused Stewart in selling the shares after receiving insider information from Bacanovic, who at that time worked as a Merrill Lynch broker for both Stewart and Im Clone founder Samuel Waksal. The behavior of Stewart during the investigation was not adequate at all. That was the main reason of her indictment.
Martha Stewart was found guilty on all counts -- of obstruction of justice, conspiracy, and making false statements. Her stockbroker Peter Bacanovic was found guilty, too, of perjury, obstruction, and conspiracy, but acquitted of one lesser charge of making a false document. (Edie Magnus, 2004). The lie even the small one in the case related to public people is not acceptable at all. Numerous false details presented by Martha Stewart and her broker constituted one big lie which was the basis for her verdict. She handled the case irresponsibly from the point of view of CEO, TV star and an ordinary citizen. The government alleges that Stewart and Bacanovic lied by saying that they spoke to each other when she ordered the sale of her Im Clone shares.
In fact, they spoke through Bacanovic's assistant -- a small point said to show a larger dishonesty. But the meetings where they made the challenged statements were not recorded verbatim, raising the question of whether the defendants said what the government said they said. (Dan Ackman, 2004). The behavior of Martha Stewart during the process is unacceptable because she brought the worst harm; she undermined the trust of the shareholders to her company and the trust to entire system in general terms. She was accused of lying to federal investigators and "multiplying" that lie to shareholders in her own company as she sought to protect her reputation and her wealth. (Guardian Newspapers, 1 / 27 / 2004) The moral issue of the Stewart trial is much more complicated than the legal one. The case was focused on the new anticancer drugs. That means such medicine was supposed to cure people with the fatal illness giving them the last chance.
Martha Stewart escaped the charges for selling Im Clone stock in an appropriate time but her conviction for attempting to obstruct the federal government's investigation of that sale is the business equivalent of Watergate, the political scandal whose cover up ultimately forced president Richard Nixon from office almost 30 years ago. (Greg Farrell, 2004). The case of Martha Stewart is not an ordinary one. There are two sides of this case. There is an attractive popular TV star, an image of American Cinderella on one side and a businesswoman lying to the jury on the other one.
The trial of Martha Stewart became similar to the soap opera attracting attention of millions of Americans. The attitude of the viewers, i. e. American people was different and divided America into those who supported Martha and those who realized the complicated mission of jury in this case. Lie began being interpreted by media in the various ways; some newspapers tried to find the precedents of lie from the bureaucratic sources thus approving that of Martha, others under the influence of her image started convicting her broker, court etc. All these talks lacked one very important thing which is an integral feature of justice in the civilized society, i.
e. when justice starts being dependable on media, somebody's image or public opinion it can not fulfill its mission. Justice is blind for all these things; it has a band on her eyes and can not get influenced even by the opinion of the majority of the population. It is difficult to say what made Martha get involved into Im Clone deal and it is more difficult to say what was behind her lie to Jury, self confidence or fear to be imprisoned.
Anyway, the case was not too much serious from the very beginning; it became complicated when she started lying. Martha served her imprisonment and recovered her business somehow. She returned back her popularity and her business became getting up. She displayed a good example to America that lie is punishable when it concerns justice unlike the executives of Enron whose intentional lie caused serious consequences to the economy of the United States and who were short of courage to appear before the jury and escaped from the justice. American Justice proved its main principle in case of Martha Stewart, all citizens are equal facing the jury and there are no exceptions for the law. Bibliography Edie Magnus, Martha Stewart: Fall of an icon.
MSNBC, available at web retrieved 25. 04. 2006 Dan Ackman, Martha Trial: Transcripts And Lies, Forbes, available at web retrieved 25. 04. 2006 Guardian Newspapers, Martha Stewart 'lied Over and Over', 1 / 27 / 2004, available at web retrieved 25. 04. 2006 Greg Farrell, Lie may cost Stewart her freedom, USA TODAY, 2004, available at web retrieved 25. 04. 2006
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Research essay sample on Martha Stewart Did She Handle Her Indictment Responsibly