July 6, 2005

Martha Stewart hates house arrest

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Martha Stewart hates house arrest andresents her electronic ankle bracelet, but the lifestyle gurusays she has fond memories of the five-month prison term sheserved for lying about a stock trade.

Stewart told Vanity Fair magazine she was known as "M.Diddy" at the minimum security prison in Alderson, WestVirginia and even has prospering mementos of those days.

"I have Alderson ginkgo," Stewart, 63, said in the Augustcover story interview that hits newsstands on July 12.

"I smuggled out some pods, and they are trees already," shesaid about the seeds she planted at her 153-acre estate inBedford, New York, to grow a plant said to provide a naturalremedy for bad circulation.

Stewart, who was released in March, ends her five-monthhome confinement in August and plans a high-profile coming outparty with two new television shows -- an NBC reality show,"The Apprentice: Martha Stewart," a spin-off of Donald Trump'shit show, and a one-hour daytime series called "Martha."

The founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and head ofa media empire built on domestic resourcefulness and good tastewas found guilty in federal court in March 2004 of lying toinvestigators probing the ImClone insider-trading scandal.

The prison term at the facility known as "Camp Cupcake,"was "by far the least bad part of the last three years," shesaid.

She said she is chafing under the second phase of hersentence that requires her to wear an electronic monitoringdevice and limits her to 48 hours per week outside her house.

"It's hideous," Stewart said. "I would redo all that if Iwere them. Encourage work, don't discourage it. If somebodywants to work 100 hours -- boy, encourage it!"

"I'll never get used to wearing an ankle bracelet, becauseit hurts," she added. "It irritates you."

Asked if she questioned the fairness of some corporatecriminals who avoid prison time, Stewart said: "Of course,every day.

"I went to Alderson. It was all part of getting it to goaway. It has to. Making a decision to stop the bleeding wasvery important. I had to stop the bleeding."

After her conviction, she had requested to begin servingher sentence while her case was being appealed as a way to puther "nightmare" behind her and be home to plant her garden inthe spring.

An admitted insomniac, Stewart said she slept with a lighton at Alderson.

"I had a roommate who put up with it. She didn't mind it.She had a big thing tied around her head," she said.

Stewart said she named her little dog after an Aldersoninmate, "an odd-looking lady with no hair" named Frances, whoStewart nicknamed Francesca.

"I just want her to know that I think about her," she said.