Martha Stewart is considering serving her five-month prison term immediately rather than waiting for her appeal.

Her appeal to a federal appeals court is for her request to overturn her conviction, sources familiar with the discussion said Friday.

Stewart, 62, was sentenced last week to five months in prison, five months’ home confinement at her estate in Bedford, N.Y., and $30,400 in fines and fees for lying to federal authorities about her December 2001 sale of ImClone Systems Inc. stock and obstructing an investigation into the sale. But she asked for and received permission to remain free on bond while she appealed, a process that could take over a year.

After her sentencing, Stewart held a news conference and gave television interviews in which she deplored the damage the case had done to her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., and encouraged supporters to buy her company’s products and magazines.

Her appeals lawyer, Walter Dellinger, said Friday in a written statement: “Any thought that 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 and seek reversal of her conviction.”

He would not elaborate on her plans.

Stewart has already notified the court of her intent to appeal. She has also paid the $30,000 fine. New York’s Daily News reported Friday morning that she was considering serving her sentence immediately.

Business analysts said a lengthy appeals process would prolong uncertainty for the company, which has already laid off 200 employees since the scandal became public. Stewart has canceled the next season of her syndicated television show, and advertising is down sharply in her flagship magazine, Martha Stewart Living.

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