Martha Stewart will soon be stepping into the future with a lighter foot.

For more than five months, including a three-week extension of the house arrest for violating probation rules, Stewart was forced to stay at her home for all but 48 hours a week, her every move tracked electronically by federal authorities.

If Stewart is monitored from now on, it’ll be by media hordes that have followed her since she was released from a West Virginia prison five months ago.

Stewart was sentenced last year to five months behind bars and five months of house arrest after she was convicted of lying to authorities on her 2001 sale of about 4,000 shares of ImClone Systems Inc. stock.
She will be on probation for a year and a half, meaning that until March 2007, she is not allowed to get drunk, own a gun or leave the federal court district (for her other homes in Connecticut, Maine and the Hamptons, for example) without permission.