America's domestic goddess breaks terms of her house arrest

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The Independent US

The five months of home confinement that has followed the five months of prison for lying about a stock transaction was meant to come to an end next Monday. But now it appears that Ms Stewart's plans will have to be put on hold for a bit longer.

It appears that Ms Stewart, who is poised to relaunch her career with two television shows, has been cheating a little on the rules of her confinement. The result of this: the home confinement stage of her original sentence will no longer end on 8 August and has instead been extended by three weeks.

To most observers, the terms of her house arrest would seem fairly relaxed. While Ms Stewart must wear an electronic ankle bracelet at all times, she is allowed to be outside the walls of her home for 48 hours a week, provided she is occupied with work, food shopping, going to the doctors or attending church.

There is no official word on what it is that Ms Stewart did to violate these conditions, but some reports have it that she was caught driving an all-terrain vehicle around the boundaries of her estate, just north of New York City, when she was meant to be inside. She has also been accused of attending a yoga class.

Either activity would not have been allowed under the terms set by the New York Probation Office.

"We have to ascertain what is essential," the chief probation officer, Chris Stanton, told People magazine. "She is always claiming to be working."

Ms Stewart must put whatever social plans she may have had on hold and resign herself to another three weeks of the anklet, which, as she recently told her fans in an online chat, she really hates.

"I am not allowed to take it off at any time, and I am not allowed, while in my home, to have any padding under the strap," she complained. "I hope none of you ever has to wear one."

But the good news is that the extension should have no impact on her television aspirations. Her upcoming daytime series, Martha, is not scheduled to begin until 12 September, while all episodes of the hotly anticipated The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, based on the original Apprentice template with Donald Trump, have already been recorded.

Her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc, issued a brief statement saying it "will be so happy to have Martha working without restriction at the end of the month".