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Hannity

What Does Martha Sentence Mean for Her Media Empire?

This is a partial transcript from "HANNITY & COLMES", July 16, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Now that the verdict is in, the sentence has been handed down, what does today's decision mean for the media empire Martha Stewart built?

Joining us now, the author of "Martha, Inc.: The Incredible Story of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia," Chris BYRON.

I'm thinking your book's going to pick up a little bit. It's already been on the bestseller list.

CHRIS BYRON, AUTHOR, "MARTHA, INC.": It would be nice if it did.

COLMES: She says she's not concerned about herself but her 345 employees.

BYRON: Right.

COLMES: Do you believe that?

BYRON: I don't know whether she -- If she was truly concerned about it, she would have told the truth to the prosecutors, and none of this would have happened. She had ample opportunities to make this go away.

COLMES: But isn't this much ado about nothing? They're blowing up this big thing, as we just pointed out. They couldn't prosecute her on the crime. The crime never really happened. But they get her on covering up something that they couldn't prosecute her on.

BYRON: No. I think that it's not up to somebody who gets called in to be interviewed by the government to define what they're going to answer truthfully and what they're not going to answer truthfully. You don't get that choice. You have to answer everything.

COLMES: But what about Martha Stewart, though? What did you learn about her as a person in doing this book?

BYRON: That none of this is surprising to me, frankly.

COLMES: Really.

BYRON: Yes, really. She's got a quality about her that kind of asked for this treatment. She provokes people.

COLMES: Why so?

BYRON: I don't know why. But that's kind of how she comes across, which we saw her today in the courtroom. I was quite astonished to see what happened there.

COLMES: What astonished you?

BYRON: Well, she -- she read from a prepared script upstairs in the courtroom. It was her act of contrition statement, her allocution, and it was the closest she ever got to being sorry.

And she came downstairs once she had learned she's not going to go to prison right away, took the same script, same statement, read it with an entirely different approach, then abandoned it halfway through and started ad-libbing about...

COLMES: Yes. You're finding her as very calculating. And that's -- I'm guessing...

BYRON: Yes. She is quite calculating.

COLMES: A lot of what's happening here, I'm guessing is there are a lot of people -- she has an image that's negative to some people. Some people don't like her. And that may be accounting for some of her bad luck here in the judicial system.

BYRON: Yes. I think there's probably an element of that. Sure. Sure.

HANNITY: Chris, she's found -- she's guilty of -- of lying in a case that she couldn't be found guilty of. They didn't have enough evidence of.

Look, whatever you think of Martha Stewart, you've got to be concerned about that principle.

BYRON: No. I'm not concerned at all. I think that the principle that -- that...

HANNITY: If she's not guilty, how could she lie about the case?

BYRON: Because it's not up to her to say what she's going to answer truthfully and what she isn't. Suppose the question came up -- suppose what they were really after wasn't an insider stock sale but banks accounts in Nevis, in the Cayman Islands or something.

HANNITY: You can't get her on the crime -- you know what? And you're going to spend millions of taxpayer dollars that could otherwise -- again, limited resources that could be used towards fighting terrorism? This is no -- this is silly.

BYRON: No. I think...

HANNITY: And I'm not a fan of Martha Stewart's. I could care less about her.

BYRON: I don't think it's silly at all. I think that the government got real value for its money on this one.

HANNITY: Why -- what do you mean? Millions of dollars here. Is she a threat to society? You feel better with her in jail?

BYRON: I'll tell you what.

HANNITY: What, she's going to hit you with a rolling pin?

BYRON: Nobody is going into the U.S. attorney's office in the southern district for a long time and lying about anything. That's for sure.

HANNITY: Well, they're going to get little old Martha Stewart, using her as an example.

BYRON: Absolutely. That's all this was about. That's all this was about.

HANNITY: You know what I think a lot of this is? I think a lot of people hate her because she's rich. I think people -- I think people in this country -- I think class warfare is a weapon now used so often by liberals and the Democrats.

Here's a woman for all accounts -- and I don't like her; I don't even know her -- but seems to have worked hard, and just because she's who she is, people hate her, because she's rich and successful. And there has been animosity and resentment because of her.

That's why I think people are happy: "Ah, we got the rich lady." Am I wrong?

BYRON: I don't know. What do you base it on? I mean, I'm not so sure that that played a factor at all.

HANNITY: People want to see her down a peg. They want her taken down.

BYRON: But -- There's probably a lot of people who agree with that. A lot. But I'm very sure that James Comey, who is the U.S. attorney at that time, did not bring this case for that reason.

HANNITY: She -- you really feel better with her in jail? What, you're afraid she's going to hit you with a rolling pin?

BYRON: I don't know but what this is a really good outcome, a really good outcome.

HANNITY: For justice.

COLMES: We can debate that. I don't think I agree with you, but I thank you very much for being here tonight.

BYRON: OK.

COLMES: Thanks very much.

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