Martha's Inquisitor Wants Quiet Setting
Louisiana Republican Congressman Billy Tauzin, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the man leading the probe into the ImClone insider-trading scandal, has told New York's Daily News that he wishes to interrogate Martha Stewart, although not at a public hearing. "I would love to avoid that," he told the newspaper. Not being able to avoid a little jab at the domestic diva, he added, "You know, I just can't imagine us having to worry about all those place settings." Tauzin said he is in contact with Stewart's lawyers to arrange her appearance. The ImClone situation, which has forced Stewart, 60, to skip her weekly appearances on CBS's "Early Show" (the network has said that Stewart may return to the show once the matter is resolved or if she will face questions about it on the air), is tarnishing Stewart's well-manicured image. The News notes that she skipped a Hamptons awards dinner last weekend, three days after admitting the scandal is cutting into her company's profits. Last week, stock in Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia plunged to a record low of $7.25. At Tuesday's stock market close, it had climbed back to $8.45, although that is less than half of what its value was before the ImClone case. (Stewart, who owns 31 million shares of the company, has therefore taken a $300 million hit since the scandal broke, the News calculates.) The scandal stems from Stewart's unloading nearly 4,000 shares of the pharmaceutical company's stock in December, a day before an FDA ruling sent ImClone shares plummeting. She has denied having any insider information.
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