Joe Biden is president, and Martha Stewart remains a felon.
In a world of unjust consequences, President Donald Trump was kicked out of office by fewer than 50,000 votes across three tipping-point states, a slimmer margin than in 2016, losing a race rigged by corporate tech oligarchs colluding with a corrupt media apparatus to ensure a Biden victory in November. If the world seems oddly reversed in 2021, that’s because it is.
Trump spent his final two months in office on a crusade to make right all the wrong wrongs, placing pressure on Republicans to overturn the presidential election while handing out clemency along the way to individuals unfitting of the gift. No, the election wasn’t fair, but it also wasn’t exactly stolen, and Steve Bannon didn’t deserve a pardon.
Of the 158 pardons Trump did issue between Nov. 3 and Inauguration Day, however, Trump got many of them right, commuting lengthy sentences of several nonviolent drug offenders and granting a full pardon to former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who got caught in a perjury trap orchestrated by former FBI Director James Comey. If Trump really wanted to accomplish true justice on his way out, however, the outgoing president would have given a full pardon to another target of Comey’s corrupt ambition: Martha Stewart.
Trump’s failure to pardon the celebrity lifestyle guru will remain one of his greatest blunders of the last four years. He missed a prime opportunity to take a final swipe at the FBI director who spent years perpetuating a never-ending hoax that would plague the Trump presidency and wreck irreparable harm on the country. Stewart, like Trump, fell victim to Comey’s malice in 2004 when she was sent to prison over a bogus crime invented by the federal prosecutor who would go on to execute the most egregious attempts at a deep-state coup against an elected president in recent memory.
Most Americans to this day still believe Stewart spent five months behind bars convicted on charges of insider trading. What most Americans probably don’t know is that’s what federal prosecutors, led by Comey, wanted to charge the media mogul with, based on a 2001 sale of a quarter-million dollars in ImClone stock made on the advice of a financial adviser. What prosecutors opted for instead were charges on conspiracy to lie about the crime for which she was never indicted for a sale that had already taken place.
Slate reported in 2003 that “Stewart has always asserted that she sold the stock because it fell below a ‘predetermined price [$60] at which she planned to sell.’”
The sale likely saved Stewart upwards of $45,000. The Justice Department, however, struggled so much to mount a case for insider trading that it developed new charges to pursue an indictment. According to the legal theory they pursued, at Comey’s direction, Stewart engaged in “securities fraud” when she declared that she was innocent, which prosecutors said was designed to prop up the value of her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. In other words, her proclamation of innocence was declared a crime, in a society where the presumption of innocence is a hallmark of the justice system in the Western legal tradition.
In his final days in office, Trump could have done something to exonerate Stewart of her past injustices brought about by a shared villain in a seemingly backward country.
But today, Joe Biden is president, and Martha Stewart is a felon.