Martha Stewart makes a new fashion statement -- an ankle bracelet

She begins five months of home confinement

March 11, 2005|By KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

NEW YORK - Martha Stewart finally has her new fashion accessory, and it fits snugly on her ankle.

Stewart yesterday began wearing a lightweight electronic monitoring bracelet that will link her to the U.S. Probation Department for the next five months while she's under home confinement.

The move came nearly a week after she was released from the women's prison camp in Alderson, W.Va., where she served five months for conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

The bracelet will set off an alarm to probation officials if she strays from her itinerary.

She'll be allowed to leave her Bedford, N.Y., estate 48 hours a week - but just for work, religious services, doctors' appointments and grocery shopping.

Every day, she'll have to tell probation officials when she's leaving home, precisely where she's going and what she's doing and exactly when she'll return home.

She'll be confined to her house, and once a week she'll have to stay in the entire day.

Her probation officer can make surprise visits to her home or office just to make sure she is where she said she'd be.

Now that Stewart's officially in home confinement, she'll have plenty of time to ruminate on how she was worth more behind bars, according to Forbes magazine's annual list of the world's billionaires.

Stewart made the list for the first time, clocking in as the world's 620th billionaire.

But that estimate was made Feb. 11, before she left prison. Since her release, stock in her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, has dropped 25 percent.

"Her stock started to rise phenomenally while she was in jail," said Luisa Kroll, the list's editor. "Today, she's probably worth closer to $800 million."

"Maybe she should go back into prison," Kroll added. "She seems to have been doing better there."

Either way, the amount is chump change to the big hitters, including Bill Gates, whose Microsoft empire has earned him $46.5 billion and the top spot on the list.

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