Martha Reportedly in Talks with Feds

05/13/2003 at 01:15 PM EDT

Martha Stewart and the U.S. Justice Department are working together in the hopes of reaching a settlement in the federal government's yearlong investigation into her possible insider-trading activities, reports London's Financial Times.

The newspaper says that a possible deal could require several additional weeks of negotiations, but that lawyers for the domestic diva, 61, met with prosecutors about the matter last week.

Stewart has long denied any wrongdoing after she dumped approximately $225,000 worth of shares of ImClone stock the day before the Food and Drug Administration rejected the biotech company's promising cancer drug.

The Financial Times reports that the Feds are reputedly having a difficult time making a case for insider trading against Stewart, and that prosecutors are vigorously pursuing obstruction of justice charges against her, instead. (That would end up being a lesser charge.)

In an editorial that appears in the current issue of Business Week, the magazine argues on Stewart's behalf, saying, "That delay in justice has proved to be an injustice in itself."

The publication notes that besides Stewart's personal reputation having been damaged, the value of her Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. has been ravaged by "the legal limbo."

The solution, says Business Week, is for the Feds to stop dragging their feet and close the books on the case -- one way or another.

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