A defiant Martha Stewart vowed to return to her troubled media and domestic-products company today after a federal judge sentenced her to the minimum jail time under the federal guidelines—five months—and said she could stay out of prison while she appealed.

The sentence comes nearly two years after federal prosecutors launched a probe into Stewart’s suspicious sale of shares of ImClone, a company owned by her friend Sam Waksal, after she received an alleged insider tip from her broker, Peter Bacanovic.

Stewart sold the stock before the company released information that sent shares lower. Federal prosecutors ultimately charged Stewart with obstruction of justice for lying about the sale. Though she wasn’t charged with criminal insider trading, the Securities and Exchange Commission has charged her with civil insider-trading violations.

Despite the likelihood that the domestic diva, whose magazine and television show feature helpful hints about cooking and decorating, will do jail time, Stewart looked confident when she appeared on the courthouse steps after sentencing this morning. “I’ll be back,” said Stewart, 62. “I’m not afraid. Not afraid whatsoever. I’m very sorry it had to come to this.”

During her press conference, with supporters cheering in the background, she called her legal troubles a “small personal matter,” and even smiled while she asked her supporters to keep buying her home products, which are sold through Kmart. “Whatever happened to me personally shouldn’t have any effect whatsoever on the great company Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia,” she said.

It’s unclear exactly what will happed to her company as her legal problems continue. Under federal rules, Stewart is barred from serving as an officer or director of a public company, but she can continue to provide creative input once her sentence is complete. Some on Wall Street have speculated that she will take the company private by purchasing the outstanding stock she doesn’t already own, in a bid to maintain control once her legal issues are concluded.

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