Plus: Shocking photos at Peterson trial, Kobe considered payoff, and more

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated September 17, 2004 04:00 PM

STEWART’S SURPRISE: In a sudden announcement Wednesday, Martha Stewart said she is ready to serve her five-month jail sentence for lying about a stock trade and “put this nightmare behind me” – so she can be out in time to plant her spring garden. “I want to reclaim my good life,” the domestic diva said during a 10-minute press conference at the New York headquarters of Martha Stewart Living Ominimedia, Inc. “I must return to my good works and allow those around me to do the same.” She is expected to begin the sentence in a few weeks.

PETERSON SCHEDULE: Prosecutors in the Scott Peterson double-murder trial may rest their case within the next two weeks, a source close to the team told PEOPLE. Meanwhile, this week, grisly photos of his wife Laci’s remains were presented in the courtroom, causing some, including Scott, to avert their eyes, while others, such as Laci’s parents, stayed away altogether. Peterson, 31, is accused of murdering his wife and their unborn son, Conner, on Christmas Eve 2002. He has pleaded not guilty.

KOBE’S BEEF: Kobe Bryant suggested to Colorado authorities that he would try to pay off his 19-year-old accuser, according to a sealed police document obtained by Sports Illustrated. Bryant’s sealed statement, which police recorded before his arrest in July 2003, had the L.A. Lakers superstar, now 26, initially denying that a sexual encounter occurred with the woman. But Bryant then admitted to it and graphically described the physical acts between them. He also said he would pay her to drop the accusation, because “I’m in the worst f—— situation.”

RAMONES, R.I.P.: Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Johnny Ramone, guitarist with influential punk rock band the Ramones, died in his sleep at his Los Angeles home Wednesday afternoon after a five-year battle with prostate cancer. Ramone (real name: John Cummings), 55, was the third member of the band to die in recent years. Singer Joey Ramone (real name: Jeffrey Hyman) died in 2001 of lymphatic cancer. Douglas Colvin, better known as bassist Dee Dee Ramone, died from a drug overdose a year later.

OLSEN HAPPY MEAL: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are teaming up with McDonald’s to promote Happy Meals at the chain’s 1,035 restaurants in France, a spokeswoman for the company confirmed this week. The advertising campaign began last week, and the Olsen meals come with a choice of a photo album, a denim bag or a crayon box. As revealed on the McDonald’s France Web site, the album also carries the Olsens’ photo, while the bag and box are personalized with their names.