NEW YORK – urors in the Martha Stewart trial said they felt pity for the fallen celebrity homemaker as her verdict was read, but that ultimately they were sure they had made the right decision.
"I choked up and I felt my eyes tearing and I was very relieved that the judge read the verdict, because I wasn't sure if I would have to do that," jury forewoman Rosemary McMahon said Monday on ABC's "Good Morning America."
Foreman said she looked at Stewart briefly after the verdict was read, and "that's when I just realized I was very upset about it and I turned back and looked at the judge."
"It was a terrible thing to happen to any person," juror Amos Mellinger said, also speaking on "Good Morning America."
Despite their sympathy for Stewart, the jury's decision to convict her of lying about a stock sale was made "after careful consideration of everything that we had," McMahon said. "We did what we had to do."
Stewart, who could face up to 20 years in prison, was expected to report Monday to a probation office for processing related to her June 17 sentence.
Other jurors said Stewart's assistant Ann Armstrong (search), who reluctantly testified that Stewart tried to alter a phone record of a message from her stockbroker, was the key witness leading them to the domestic diva's conviction.
Armstrong testified that Stewart sat down at Armstrong's desk to change a message from her broker, Peter Bacanovic (search), that informed her that he thought the ImClone Systems (IMCL) stock price would start falling.
"She ultimately gave the testimony that was going to bring Martha down. That was a very important piece," said juror Chappell Hartridge, one of six jurors who spoke to "Dateline NBC" in interviews that aired Sunday night.
"We all believed her 100 percent," juror Adam Sachs said of Armstrong.
The jurors also said they believed other key prosecution witnesses in the case against Stewart, including Bacanovic assistant Douglas Faneuil (search), and were puzzled that the defense spent less than an hour presenting its case after weeks of prosecution testimony.
The defense team told jurors, "don't believe it. It didn't happen, so don't believe it," McMahon said. "But we ... were sitting there going, but we saw this and we heard that. And, you know, we have evidence of this. And, you know, testimony of that. So it was like, we need more. You know? We were waiting. We were hoping."
The eight women and four men deliberated 12 hours over three days before convicting Stewart Friday on all four counts against her — conspiracy, obstruction and two counts of making false statements.
Both she and Bacanovic, who was convicted of obstruction, making false statements, conspiracy and perjury, have vowed to appeal.
Stewart was convicted of lying to cover up the reason she sold 3,928 shares of ImClone stock on Dec. 27, 2001 — avoiding a hefty loss when the company announced bad news the next day.
Prosecutors had offered Stewart a chance last April to plead guilty to just one of the four charges against her — making a false statement — in exchange for a probation sentence, Newsweek reported Sunday, citing unidentified sources close to the case. But a defense source told the magazine that prosecutors could not guarantee that Stewart would avoid jail time completely and Stewart refused the offer, Newsweek reported.
Jurors said they also relied on the testimony of longtime Stewart friend Mariana Pasternak, who said that Stewart had told her she knew ImClone CEO Sam Waksal (search) was selling his stock.
Pasternak testified she remembered Stewart saying, "Isn't it nice to have brokers who tell you those things?"
"We were like, `Wow,'" juror Dana D'Allessandro said. "That blew me away."
Pasternak later acknowledged on cross-examination that the remark may have been something she herself thought, not something Stewart said.
Despite defense efforts to discredit Faneuil, jurors said they believed the testimony of the former Merrill Lynch (MER) assistant.
"We all agreed that he was very rehearsed, and we did take a long look at that," juror Laskin said. But, he added, "we ultimately felt that it [his testimony] was essentially credible."
The jurors also said Stewart's reputation as a stickler for detail made it hard to believe that she did not remember receiving a message from Bacanovic warning her about ImClone.
"That wasn't really believable. 'Cause this is a woman who pays attention to details," McMahon said.
Jurors said while they spent days exhaustively going over the evidence, they always came to the same conclusion.
"We tried five ways to Friday to take it from different angles," juror Meg Crane said. "To work it through. And — and that was it. We were ... we just could not have done anything else."