'Factor Exclusive': Martha's Brother Speaks Out

This is a partial transcript from The O'Reilly Factor, March 8, 2004 that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST:  In the "Personal Story" segment tonight, for the first time in five years, Martha Stewart's brother Frank Kostyra (search) talked with his sister outside the courthouse today.

Mr. Kostrya joins us now for an exclusive interview with THE FACTOR.

What did you say to her?

FRANK KOSTYRA, MARTHA STEWART'S BROTHER:  Well, there wasn't much choice -- chance to actually say much to Martha.  She was guarded pretty heavily.  And I said can you say anything?  Do you have a moment to spare.  And she said when I come down.  And then after she came down, of course, the same barrage was around her.  And she said, "here, here's my phone number, call me."

O'REILLY:  Mm-hmm, so have you called her yet?


O'REILLY:  All right.

KOSTYRA:  She was in a meeting.  She said I have to go inside...

O'REILLY:  Now you haven't spoken with your sister for five years.  What happened?

KOSTYRA:  It was just a disagreement and I have to honor that.  It's something that came between us.  And that's just  families do that every now and then.

O'REILLY:  Right.  We did some investigating.  Did it have to do with she thought that you sold her out to a tabloid story?

KOSTYRA:  Oh, that could have been.

O'REILLY:  Right.

KOSTYRA:  That happened underhandedly from, I guess, "The National  Enquirer".

O'REILLY:  Right.

KOSTYRA:  .called her, who had just got off the phone with me.  I was in a lawsuit with them over photographic rights.  And he said, "I understand your brother just sold the story to `The Globe.'  I'm from `The Globe' and I'm  confirming it."  And that what really sparked it.  There was no story.

O'REILLY:  Right.

KOSTYRA:  Never had been.  They were flying some gentlemen in because they found out where I lived, and who I was.  And they wanted to talk to me, but I didn't.

O'REILLY:  But couldn't you have gone through your mom, who I know you're close with and so is Martha, and kind of try to patch things up there?

KOSTYRA:  I don't like to bring mom in the middle.  And Martha wasn't  going to relent, you know, let it go.


KOSTYRA:  So she actually held on to her belief that I sold her out,   which I really didn't.

O'REILLY:  OK.  Now maybe this will lead to a rapprochement with her when you call her up.  And I hope it does.  You know, we normally don't like to see families feuding.  There's six children in your family.

KOSTYRA:  Oh, my gosh, yes.

O'REILLY:  Six children.  Martha Stewart (search) obviously explodes into superstardom.  Did that cause problems within the family?

KOSTYRA:  Not at all.  No.  We're very much supportive of all of her endeavors and proud, very proud.

O'REILLY:  Mm-hmm.  Is she a person who is going to be able to handle a  prison sentence of about a year?

KOSTYRA:  I think so.  Dad taught us all well.  He brought us through sort of like the Von Trappe family, if you're familiar with that movie.

O'REILLY:  "The Sound of Music."

KOSTYRA:  Yes.  And we had to stand up against the wall, shoulders back, head straight up, staunch, straightforward, proud, dignified.  Don't, you know, like put on the dial, but don't let them see you sweat.

O'REILLY:  So it was a very disciplined family?

KOSTYRA:  Very disciplined.

O'REILLY:  That's the -- she puts forth that when you see her in  public, that strong, staunch.


O'REILLY:  You think that hurt her in with the jurors, who thought maybe that strength was arrogance?

KOSTYRA:  That could be.  I hadn't thought about that, but a lot of times I intimidate a lot of people because I'm, like yourself, tall, straightforward.  And a lot of people back away.  They say I'm afraid of you.  I say why?

O'REILLY:  Yes, absolutely true.


O'REILLY:  Were you surprised when your sister was convicted?

KOSTYRA:  Very much so, yes.  In fact, I wept a little bit.  Devastated.

O'REILLY:  Because we weren't surprised.  We feel, with all due respect,  that she did it.

KOSTYRA:  Oh, you do?

O'REILLY:  Yes, we feel that she did it.  The paper trail was there.  We don't know her.  We, being me, I mean, I predicted that she would be found  guilty, but you were actually surprised when you heard the verdict.

KOSTYRA:  Yes.  The whole family was.  I immediately called mom and  her phone was busy.  So I didn't get through to her till the next day actually.  And she said, no, it's not like what we had expected.  In fact, everyone said things  would be fine.  And a lot of  prayers and it will be all  right.

O'REILLY:  How old is your mother?

KOSTYRA:  She's going to be 90 on her next birthday.  Yes.

O'REILLY:  This must be really tough for her.

KOSTYRA:  Very tough, very tough, yes.

O'REILLY:  What does she say?

KOSTYRA:  That she doesn't want to talk about it, she doesn't want to think about it because it's just so upsetting to her.

O'REILLY:  Because she lives near Martha up in Connecticut.


O'REILLY:  And the two are close?

KOSTYRA:  Very close, yes.  Mom is close to all of her children.

O'REILLY:  Now Martha Stewart is an industry.  And to do that, to  accomplish what she has done, and I know this because myself -- I mean, you have to devote a lot of time to that.  A lot of time.

KOSTYRA:  Oh, a lot of time.

O'REILLY:  Right.  And that impacts on personal relationships, does it not?

KOSTYRA:  It certainly does.  As you well know, for you to do this show every day, you have to take time to do it.  And if you're 100 percent, like Martha is, then there's little time for anything else, I would imagine.

O'REILLY:  Do you think it impacted on her family relationships?

KOSTYRA:  I'm pretty sure it did.


KOSTYRA:  You know, in fact, I think there's some published documents to prove that.

O'REILLY:  Some distance from her other siblings.

KOSTYRA:  But that's her choice.

O'REILLY:  Oh, absolutely.  People make choices in their lives and they decide this is what I'm going to do and this is what I'm not going to do.  Now you told us that you believe she fell in with the wrong crowd.  What's that?  What kind of crowd do you think she fell in with?

KOSTYRA:  I don't think I stated that, did i?

O'REILLY:  I have it in the pre-interview with you.

KOSTYRA:  Oh, pre-interview.  No.  I thought that - I think that what the  question was is that I believe her defense, her attorneys failed to recognize who her real peers were.  And looking back at one of the "Newsweek" magazines in  June, maybe a year or two ago, I see a picture of Sam Waksal.  And there's the  Martha on one side and Jim Kerry - or John Kerry rather.  So you would think that these are her peers.  But no, these are the people who she is associating with in her business deals.

O'REILLY:  But she did live a fairly sophisticated, ran with a pretty sophisticated set in Connecticut and in Eastern Long Island out in the Hamptons.

KOSTYRA:  Sure, she worked up to that.  And that's what she wanted to do.  And you know, why not go with the people that you want to be with?  But that's not her peers.

O'REILLY:  That's right.

KOSTYRA:  The peers are the Norman Rockwell people.

O'REILLY:  Well, let me submit this to you.  Let me submit this to you, Frank.  I think she lost her way because she abandoned her roots.  She got rich and famous, started hanging with the swells, got in the with the Waksals and weasels of the world, and this is what happened.  That if she had stayed with roots, as you just stated, it never would have happened.  Am I wrong?

KOSTYRA:  I couldn't answer that because I don't know.

O'REILLY:  No, you never thought about that?

KOSTYRA:  No, that's a lot of supposition, I believe.

O'REILLY:  Yes, I'm good at that.  I make suppositions.

KOSTYRA:  Do you really?

O'REILLY:  But I resist, myself, going with that fast crowd.

KOSTYRA:  No.  I just think her lawyers made a wrong move.  If you look at Norman Rockwell, you see who the peers really are that are around us, the firemen, the policeman, the man buying ice cream for his children and.

O'REILLY:  You don't think she lost touch with those people, huh?

KOSTYRA:  She may have.  She may have.

O'REILLY:  I believe she did.


O'REILLY:  Frank, thanks for coming in.  We know it's a very difficult time for you and your family.  And please extend our condolences to your mother, OK?

KOSTYRA:  Thank you, sir.

O'REILLY:  Pleasure to meet you.

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