Nearly three months after Martha Stewart shed her ankle bracelet and left home confinement to launch a much buzzed-about—but so far shaky—comeback, we’re told her convicted ImClone co-conspirator Peter Bacanovic is finally tasting freedom. According to one of Bacanovic’s close friends, the former Merrill Lynch broker had his monitoring device removed over the weekend after quietly serving out the second half of his ten-month sentence at his New York home.
The 43-year-old Bacanovic, whose charmed career in the financial world imploded when he was convicted in 2004 of using inside information to urge Stewart to dump her ImClone stock, previously notched the first five months of his sentence in the clink at Nellis Air Force base outside Las Vegas. Looking back on his confinement, Bacanovic has told pals he preferred his time in the minimum-security prison—where he was visited regularly by society allies like Vanity Fair’s Dominick Dunne, and claims to have read over 60 books—to being cooped up in his cushy home. Although a friend gave him a job that allowed him to get out of the house during daylight hours, he is “happy not to have to constantly be checking in with his handlers and thrilled to finally get the damned bracelet off,” says the friend.
Whether Bacanovic—who went down with Stewart for a deal that netted him a total commission of $440—will resume his friendship with his former client is uncertain. (At least Merrill was kind enough to pick up the tab for his legal bills.) Though he still has two years of parole ahead of him, we’re told he plans to relocate to the West Coast, possibly to pursue a career in the movie industry.
Calls to Bacanovic’s lawyer, Richard Strassberg, were not returned and Stewart’s lawyer, Walter Dellinger, could not be reached by press time.