Martha Probed for Attending Party
The U.S. Probation Department is looking into whether the domestic diva – currently under house arrest as part of her sentence for having lied to feds about a stock sale – violated the terms of her punishment by attending a Time magazine dinner last week, the New York Post reports.
"We're going to do some investigating to see if this event was directly related to her employment," Chris Stanton, chief federal probation officer for the Southern District of New York, tells the paper.
Stanton reportedly okayed an initial request by Stewart, 63, to attend the star-studded gala, which celebrated Time's 100 Most Influential People issue – one of them being Stewart.
Investigators wish to review the nature of and the activities at the affair, and compare them to Stewart's written request to attend.
The event included a 90-minute cocktail party and lavish sit-down dinner with many celebrities in attendance. Among them were Nicole Kidman, Barbara Walters, Donald Trump and wife Melania Knauss, Melissa Etheridge and Time Warner honcho Richard Parsons (PEOPLE is part of Time Warner).
No awards were dispensed, which seems to have taken authorities by surprise, according to Stanton's remarks to the Post.
He said that Stewart's attendance required a "specific and concrete" link to her employment and added that going to a high-profile party simply for publicity or to raise her profile in the business community is "not good enough" a reason.
In a statement to the Post, Martha Stewart spokeswoman Elizabeth Estroff said: "When Time Magazine recognizes Martha Stewart, (Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia)'s founder, as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, our company benefits from that honor. Having Martha present at industry events where she is honored and recognized for her achievements – whether or not they hand out awards – is valuable to us."