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Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Sentencing Postponed

Stewart's sentencing will be delayed until July 8th, three weeks later than originally planned, to give federal judge Miriam Cedarbaum time to consider requests for a new trial.

This news is huge regardless of how Cedarbaum responds. It buys the Stewart camp, including MSLO, some time. It also helps promote her innocence with consumers. If she was clearly guilty, she would be in prison by now.

The Reuters story notes that Stewart has offered to conduct community service and that MSLO has made it clear it will suffer without its leader. Unfortunately these two key points fly in the face of previous strategies. While community service is the right thing to do and something Martha should do regardless of her sentencing, it connotes her guilt and is inconsistent with her positioning thus far. Same goes for MSLO's statement as everything leading up to this involved distancing themselves from Martha—not tying their future to her.

Fine, we're seeing some last minute bet hedging. Perhaps it is working as Cedarbaum decides to consider a new trial.