NEW YORK – Martha Stewart (search) says in a new interview that her nickname in prison was M. Diddy, that house arrest is "hideous" and that her prosecution was about bringing her down "to scare other people."
In the interview, Stewart tells Vanity Fair magazine she agrees with those who say her crime — lying about a personal stock sale — is far different from massive corporate scandals such as Enron (search), WorldCom (search) and Tyco (TYC).
"Of course that is what it's all about," Vanity Fair quotes Stewart as saying. "Bring 'em down a notch, to scare other people. If Martha can be sent to jail, think hard before you sell that stock."
Stewart, 63, is serving a five-month term of house arrest at her Bedford, N.Y., estate that followed five months in a West Virginia federal prison. She is scheduled to go free early next month.
"I hate lockdown. It's hideous," Stewart tells the August issue of the magazine, on newsstands July 12.
Asked about the electronic monitoring device she must wear on her ankle — she has complained repeatedly that it irritates her skin — Stewart says she knows how to remove it.
"I watched them put it on. You can figure out how to get it off," she is quoted as saying. "It's on the Internet. I looked it up."
Her publicist's eyes "widened with alarm" when Stewart made the remark. The article didn't say whether Stewart claimed ever to have taken off the device.
Still, Stewart appears to take house arrest very seriously, noting that she once phoned her probation officer to apologize when she arrived home two or three minutes late from an approved outing.
Stewart has two TV shows planned for the fall season — a one-hour daytime talk show "Martha" and a version of the NBC reality show "The Apprentice."
She says her version of "The Apprentice" will be different than Donald Trump's (search) and that she doesn't want to be portrayed as mean and harsh. She says she would never use Trump's catchphrase, "You're fired."
"We are trying to come up with other ways to say it," she says. "For instance, if someone is from Idaho, I could say, `You're back in Boise for apple-picking time.'"
A federal appeals court is considering Stewart's bid to overturn her conviction on charges that she lied about her sale of 3,928 shares of ImClone Systems (IMCL) stock in late 2001.
Asked whether she owes anyone an apology, Stewart says she is sorry for the "chaos" her prosecution caused but suggests she is not personally to blame.
"You can't be sorry for something that — let's see, how can I say this? I'm on appeal. You don't appeal if you think that you should be sorry," she says.
The magazine reports Stewart is in good spirits and hard at work renovating her Bedford home. She is allowed to leave Bedford 48 hours per week for work outings.
She even laughs at a joke made by Jon Stewart (search) of "The Daily Show" — that she could make a shiv, or small blade, out of a lamb shank.
"He was talking about me after I left, and — I have to say — Jon Stewart is even better looking in person than he is on TV," Stewart says. "I have such a crush on him."