Why They're Picking on Martha Stewart

Prosecutors charge Martha Stewart with fraud and conspiracy--and say they're sending a message to other CEOs

Before she was ever an icon or a punch line, a media mogul or an accused felon, Martha Stewart was a person who would stand her ground, no matter what. In 1987, when Stewart was negotiating with Kmart for the licensing deal that would turn her into, literally, a household name, she was just a popular cookbook author--"a nobody," says Paul Argenti, who worked on the project as a consultant to Kmart's CEO. Nevertheless, she stood up to Kmart's top executives, who wanted her to take an exclusive deal with the Lifetime cable channel to help promote the new line. "She's...

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