Q: How serious are these charges, really, given that they stem from a stock sale that netted her less than $50,000?
A: Very serious. If prosecutors can prove that Stewart repeatedly lied and tried to cover up the circumstances surrounding her stock sale, she might face some jail time.
Q: Why is Stewart suddenly launching a public-relations campaign, given her relative silence over the past year?
A: At this point, she has nothing to lose. Prosecutors are already angry with her and seem determined to put the squeeze on for her alleged actions. With the charges now a matter of public record, Stewart is free to finally tell her side of the story.
Her recent ad in USA Today and new Web site may not sway a court decision in her favor. But it could generate enthusiasm with her fans and cement the notion that she’s being prosecuted because she’s a high-profile, successful woman.