NEW YORK (AP) — In hopes of winning less time in prison, Martha Stewart has asked friends to write to the judge who will determine her sentence for lying about a stock sale. Stewart asked people to write about her character, work ethic, and integrity in letters to U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum. “If possible, include any memorable experiences you have had with me to explain the basis of any expressed opinion(s),” Stewart wrote in her letter.

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Dear Judge Cedarbaum,

I am a neighbor of Ms. Stewart’s here in Connecticut, and over the years I have attended more than a few of the lavish parties she has thrown at Turkey Hill. In all that time, I have found her to be a wonderful woman, generous to her guests, polite to her house staff, and possessed of a wicked but never malicious sense of humor. Ironically, when I first met Ms. Stewart, I had a negative impression of her, formed mostly from the fact that she yelled at my husband and threw a spoon at him, narrowly missing his eye. It turns out that she thought he was her husband. We all had a good laugh about it later.

Lucy Jasper
Westport, CT

Dear Judge Cedarbaum,

When I first encountered Ms. Stewart, it struck me that she was a formidable woman with a tremendous sense of self-possession. I liked her at once, and found many points of contact between us. In particular, I remember one crisp autumn afternoon when we spoke for a long time about the strangeness of personal wealth, the way in which it creates certain freedoms but also confers certain responsibilities. Even during that conversation, she maintained her famous devotion to details: my husband Ken was drinking a glass of iced tea and she smoothly, almost silently, slipped a coaster between it and the table. Had she not done so, my table would likely have been ruined, and then one of the maids would have been fired. That was Martha: always thinking of others.

Linda Lay
Houston, TX

Dear Judge Cedarbaum,

Over the years, I have met Ms. Stewart more than a few times, sometimes socially, sometimes professionally. Once, a few years ago, we were both in New York City to appear as guests on a talk show. Ms. Stewart dropped by my dressing room to wish me luck and then invited me down to her dressing room for tea and cakes. The place was immaculate: no clothes or pill bottles littering the floor. She even had her own epergne that she took out of a collapsible fabric box. Incredible! Later that night, when I was driving around topless in my limo with a half-killed bottle of Grey Goose, I thought about her, and how she epitomizes something that is all too rare in America these days: class.

Courtney Love
Los Angeles, CA

Dear Judge Cedarbaum,

I’m guessing that most of the letters supporting Martha Stewart will come from women. Allow me to give another perspective. Nine years ago, I was living in an Econoline van, drinking mainly beer and making what little money I made by selling small amounts of expired prescription medicine. I used the bathroom at a Mobil at a rest stop up on I-85 to freshen up, and I slept on a ratty old futon in the back of the van. Then one afternoon, when I was doing some work hauling trash for cash, I found a copy of her Living magazine. I didn’t think much of it at the time. I’m not even sure why I kept it around. But I read it and I began thinking differently about my life. I mean, it opened me up to a whole different mind. I started to see that things didn’t have to be the way they were, that I didn’t have to set my goals so low. Later that year, I bought a new futon. Thank you, Martha, and thank you for your time, Judge Cedarbaum.

John R. Hall
near Richmond, VA

Dear Judge Cedarbaum,

Hello. I am a writer living and working on the East Coast: I do some work for the stage, but mostly I work in the field of television comedy. I have never met Martha Stewart, nor have I read her magazine, but I know a tremendous amount about her, primarily from satirical impersonations and commentary on such programs as Saturday Night Live, Mad TV, and the late-night talk shows. And given what I know about her, I feel that punishing Ms. Stewart with a harsh sentence would cripple the comedy industry. I am aware that this is a counterintuitive theory, and it is true that at first there would be an abundance of skits about Ms. Stewart decorating her jail cell, or putting together the perfect melon-colored jumpsuit ensemble. But as the reality of her plight sank in, the humor would drain away and we would be left with a rather desolate portrait of a lonely middle-aged woman undone by the greed of others and, above all, by her own arrogance. And where is the humor in that? Your honor, I beg you to practice clemency, if not for Ms. Stewart, then for the nation’s comedy writers and satirists. Jail time would be simply — and this is not a word I use lightly — sad.

Arnold Wexler
New York, NY