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Dan9999999
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The trial and recent conviction of Martha Stewart got me thinking, now the laws against insider trading might be unjust but most of what she was charged with was lying to the investagators, wich persumably should be a crime. So my question is if you were a jurior in her trial would you have found her guilty of comitting a crime to cover up what shouldn't be a crime?

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How can they prove that she lied about insider trading, if they can't prove that she engaged in any insider trading? The evidence was flimsy, the jury was biased (politically Marxist), and Martha has the right to proclaim her innocence. The outcome of this case so far is frightening.

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How can they prove that she lied about insider trading, if they can't prove that she engaged in any insider trading?  The evidence was flimsy, the jury was biased (politically Marxist), and Martha has the right to proclaim her innocence.  The outcome of this case so far is frightening.

The jury is in favor of Marxism? If that's true then the world is going to hell in a handbasket.. If I prayed, I'd pray for Stewart.

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I suppose I shouldn't generalize and say that the entire jury was (at least implicitly) Marxist, although I think there is some evidence that some of the jurors were. At least one juror has spoken to the press since the conviction, calling it "a victory for the little guy." (You should be able to find that story easily, it's been all over the media.) If that doesn't display his Marxist premises, I don't know what does.

Aside from that juror's statements to that effect, the whole idea that "insider" trading is a crime is based on the same kinds of Marxist premises. And I think that there are strong indications, that juror's statements being one of them, that the conviction in this case was politically motivated on those kinds of grounds. I certainly do not think that the evidence was strong enough, but the jury (and the judge) seemed to be looking for excuses to convict when they asked whether the testimony of one witness (and a document created by that same witness) were grounds enough for a finding of guilt (to which the judge responded, "The short answer is, yes"). Now, perhaps it legally is, at least in some contexts (I'd like to hear the long answer), but the point is that the jury seemed to have some doubts about the strength of the evidence, but at least some of them seemed to me (and I think this is somewhat validated by the one juror's statements after the conviction) to be looking for the judge to give them an excuse to reach a verdict that they already wanted to. What I'm saying is, I have serious doubts about the impartiality of the jury in this case.

But anyway, that's hardly the main point. The point is that Martha Stewart did nothing wrong, and for her to spend any amount of time in jail will be evidence of serious corruption of our legal system. (We already knew that many corrupt elements, such as the anti-trust laws, existed, but it's still depressing to see it used to persecute someone like her.)

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My difficulty comes in considering the fact that I think the crime she was charged with, impeding a police investigation etc, should be crimes but what she was charged with covering up shouldn't be. I believe I would find her not guilty because while I would usually find someone guilty if they committed a crime to cover up what shouldn't be a crime, ex: committing perjury to cover up an affair. She was only scared into committing this crime by unjust government regulation.

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My difficulty comes in considering the fact that I think the crime she was charged with, impeding a police investigation etc, should be crimes but what she was charged with covering up shouldn't be. I believe I would find her not guilty because while I would usually find someone guilty if they committed a crime to cover up what shouldn't be a crime, ex: committing perjury to cover up an affair. She was only scared into committing this crime by unjust government regulation.

It really disgusts me how some people are actually rejoicing Stewart's trial. I remember when this first came up in the media. For months I couldn't understand what Martha did wrong. I thought it had to be something horrible if she would get sentenced up to 20 years. I kept reading what she did "wrong", and every time I thought I missed the point. I guess I didn't after all.

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Even if Martha did lie, it wasn't immoral and it certainly wasn't a violation of anybody's rights. Telling a lie to avoid having your rights violated is perfectly moral, and violating her rights is exactly what the government did. This is true even if the liar doesn't see the issue in these terms, as most likely Ms. Stewart did not.

Mark Peters

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I would usually find someone guilty if they committed a crime to cover up what shouldn't be a crime, ex: committing perjury to cover up an affair.

(emphasis added)

The point is exactly that Martha did NOT commit a crime.

If you lie to an innocent person about an affair etc., you have violated that innocent person's rights. THAT is a crime.

However, if somebody attacks you and you lie to him in order to defend yourself, you have not violated anyone's rights: the attacker is in violation of your rights, and has thus forfeited his own rights. This is exactly what happened between Martha and the Feds.

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What she was charged with was lieing about her stock broker's insider trading.

She can't lie about her own insider trading becuase, by definition, she is not an insider.

Martha lied to protect the price of her own stock, which was dumb, if she kept her mouth shut the price would have been back within weeks (because what she was origionally accused of would not have effected her companies actual value).

However, in the process she protected her broker from his part of the investigation (again for something which shouldn't be a crime).

chapell hartridge was obviously a fool (edit: marxist fool), his victory for the "little guy", lost hundereds of little guys their jobs. not to mention the shareholders in marthas company, surely some of them were "little guys" too.

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Did Stewart harm anyone in the process of selling her stock? Did anyone loose money because of HER actions?

Even if the answers to these questions were yes, would it make any difference? People very well may have lost money because of her actions, but that doesn't show that her actions were unjust or criminal.

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Even if the answers to these questions were yes, would it make any difference? People very well may have lost money because of her actions, but that doesn't show that her actions were unjust or criminal.

I understand that Ryan, but I'm just trying to become well rounded at the situation. But what I'm wondering is how it would be unjust. I believe people (especially the buyers of Stewart's stock) are fully responsible for their actions. I'm wondering if it's moral to say sell something that you knew was going to break sooner or later without the buyer knowing it, if that's the case.

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I'm wondering if it's moral to say sell something that you knew was going to break sooner or later without the buyer knowing it, if that's the case.

This is how the stock market works. You buy and sell stocks depending on what you think they will do (be worth more or less). There is nothing wrong with you knowing more than the other guy. Would you not play a basketball game against someone who you knew you could beat because you thought it was immoral? There is nothing wrong in being the best or the smartest.

May the best man win!!!

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This is how the stock market works. You buy and sell stocks depending on what you think they will do (be worth more or less). There is nothing wrong with you knowing more than the other guy. Would you not play a basketball game against someone who you knew you could beat because you thought it was immoral? There is nothing wrong in being the best or the smartest.

May the best man win!!!

Thanks. I needed a simplified answer. :D

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People would do well to study just what happened to Martha Stewart and how the law was used against her in the most biased way possible. She was accused of lying to the police. The way she was prosecuted for this ought to send a chill down your spine. She wasn't prosecuted for perjury, for lying under oath. Law enforcement is allowed to lie to anyone they are talking to, but citizens have no such right under the law. Of course, people do it all the time without being prosecuted for it. The courts would be clogged even more than they are if they were. This law is used as a tool of intimidation and is used primarily to threaten witnesses. That the government was able to secure a conviction against Ms. Stewart is a prededent we should all be afraid of. Should I speak to the police at all about anything? If they decide I've lied to them, I've left myself open to charges.

As an aside, compare what happened to Ms. Stewart, who was not under oath at the time, to what happened to Bill Clinton, who lied under oath to a Federal Grand Jury. The results of these two cases are telling.

See Eugene Volokh's blog, The Volokh Conspiracy, for a fairly reasonable legal discussion of this case.

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I understand that Ryan, but I'm just trying to become well rounded at the situation. But what I'm wondering is how it would be unjust. I believe people (especially the buyers of Stewart's stock) are fully responsible for their actions. I'm wondering if it's moral to say sell something that you knew was going to break sooner or later without the buyer knowing it, if that's the case.

Joerj11's answer on this point was good, but let me add that if you're concerned about all the people who've lost money on this deal (and there's good reason to be), the villain is not Martha Stewart but the goons at the FDA who arbitrarily denied the drug that crashed ImClone's stock, but who have since reversed their position and approved the drug, now that Sam Waksal and Martha Stewart have been legally screwed and Stewart's company's stock has also gone down the toilet as a result.

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This is how the stock market works. You buy and sell stocks depending on what you think they will do (be worth more or less). There is nothing wrong with you knowing more than the other guy. Would you not play a basketball game against someone who you knew you could beat because you thought it was immoral? There is nothing wrong in being the best or the smartest.

But what if you posess that information or knowledge by virtue of a priviledged position, i.e. as an executive within the company? Furthermore, what if that information is unavailable to the public because the company has not released it? Acting on that knowledge by selling off stock may well be considered fraud against the buyer(s).

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Let's say I am a prophet, and I am privy to confidential conversations with the divine. I know that disaster is about to strike a company, and sell my stock without telling anyone why. Fraud?

Yes, the example is arbitrary; but it's to illustrate the point that having access to information without giving others access to it in no way implies fraudulent trade.

Let the buyer beware - anyone who sells anything does so because that thing is not worth, to him, the money you are willing to pay for it.

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y_feldblum is exactly right. This particular case is a great example of why it is perfectly okay to “insider trade”. Lets say I owned stock in the drug company that is involved, and I happen to be a chemist who also knows how the FDA tends to approach these types of issues. I know what is in this drug and how it is made and can tell that the FDA will, at least at first, turn away the newest, largest life changing, miracle drug, should I not sale just because I happen to be a chemist who is familiar with the FDA’s tendencies. Is this immoral, is this fraud?

There is no difference between the CEO of a company and someone at home who has the brains and the know how to determine what will happen in this companies future. In fact I’d argue the CEO would be more inclined to keep his shares given what he knows if he wishes to keep his job. He can make a lot more money by taking whatever trouble is dealt his way and turning it around, making his stock worth more, then just selling if off, ditching his job, never to be hired as a CEO anywhere again. Would you hire, or buy stock in a company who hired, a CEO who after a couple years ditches his stock and job when trouble arises?

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