Martha could have avoided this entire mess if she had simply fessed up to begin with, federal investigators say. Had she admitted wrongdoing in early 2002, she could have gotten off with a $200,000 fine and no jail time.
And Newsweek has learned that the Feds gave Martha another opportunity to avoid prison. Federal prosecutors offered Martha a deal last April to cop to one count of making a false statement, say several sources familiar with the offer. She would have received probation and continued working at her company, they say. But Martha refused to plead guilty to a felony, and a defense source says the Feds couldn’t guarantee she’d stay out of jail.She has only herself (and her pathetic legal team) to blame for facing jail time.