While she prepares her appeal, Stewart may do her time so she can get back to business

By Sharon Cotliar and Stephen M. Silverman
Updated July 26, 2004 08:00 AM

Although Martha Stewart won a stay of her prison sentence pending appeal, she is considering going behind bars sooner rather than later while also aggressively pursuing an appeal, sources close to Stewart tell PEOPLE.

“No decision has been made yet,” says a source, who nevertheless confirms that Stewart is seriously weighing whether to serve her time before the appeal is decided.

The domestic diva, 63, was sentenced on July 16 to five months in prison for her role in lying to federal agents investigating her sale of a stock before its price dropped.

Walter Dellinger, a lawyer handling Stewart’s appeal, said in a written statement Friday: “Any thought Martha Stewart might give to voluntarily beginning the service of her sentence is based on her desire to devote her full time to her company as soon as possible. In any case, she plans to vigorously pursue her appeal.”

Last week, Stewart paid the $30,400 in fines and court costs, as was also ordered at her July 16 sentencing. Her former stockbroker, Peter Bacanovic, 41, also paid his share: $4,400, according to court files released Friday.

Douglas Faneuil, Bacanovic’s former assistant whose testimony helped seal the fate of his ex-boss and Stewart, also was sentenced for his role in the cover-up. On Friday, he received a $2,000 fine and no jail time or probation.

“I believe it would have taken an exceptionally brave 26-year-old to prevent all this from happening,” Faneuil, now 28, told Manhattan federal Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum. “Nonetheless, I deeply regret not being that brave.”