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Martha Wants 80-Hour Work Weeks

In a follow-up filing to a request by celebrity homemaker Martha Stewart that a judge reduce her time under house arrest, her company's CEO and lawyers responded to prosecutors who had mocked her claim that the confinement is damaging her business.

Federal prosecutors had urged a judge last week to deny Stewart's request for a reduction to her sentence for lying about a stock sale. "Minor inconvenience to one's ability to star in a television show is an insufficient ground for re-sentencing," prosecutor Michael Schachter wrote in a letter to the judge referring to Stewart's two upcoming television series - a daytime talk show and a new rendition of NBC's "The Apprentice."

In a letter accompanying a new brief Monday by lawyers, chief executive and president Susan Lyne defended Stewart.

"Ms. Stewart does not need publicity, nor does she have a desire to be more of a public figure than she already is," Lyne wrote.

"The company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, made a decision that it would be beneficial to expose our brand, our products, and our mission, to a broader demographic and in the process, to reintroduce Ms. Stewart's services on the fourth edition of 'The Apprentice.'"

Stewart is allowed to leave her home 48 hours per week for work, and she has asked the judge either to end the house arrest early or allow her to leave for work 80 hours per week.

She also complained in a Web chat that the electronic-monitoring bracelet she must wear is unwieldy and chafes her skin.

The judge has the option of granting Stewart a new sentencing hearing or rejecting the request outright.

Stewart made the requests after a Supreme Court ruling earlier this year that made federal sentencing guidelines advisory rather than mandatory. Stewart was sentenced at the lowest possible end of the guidelines.

Stewart and stockbroker Peter Bacanovic were convicted in March 2004 for lying about why Stewart sold 3,928 shares of ImClone Systems Inc. stock in December 2001, just before a negative government decision on an ImClone drug.