NEW YORK – Eight women and four men were chosen Monday to decide lifestyle guru Martha Stewart's (search) fate, including a minister who counsels married couples, a pharmacist born in Uganda and a man who lost money because of Enron's collapse.
Lawyers were expected to make opening statements Tuesday in the highly anticipated trial, which will be held four days a week and will likely last a month.
In court Monday, Stewart watched stoically, though at times showed a hint of a frown, as the 12 jurors and six alternates took their seats in court. She rested her chin on her right hand, and made occasional notes on a stenographer's pad.
The jury, culled by lawyers from a pool of hundreds, was seated Monday to decide whether Stewart lied to investigators about a well-timed stock sale in 2001. Opening statements were set for Tuesday morning.
Many of the jurors told U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum in private interviews they had been exposed to some of the enormous pretrial publicity that has surrounded Stewart's prosecution but assured her they could be impartial anyway.
Stewart, 62, is accused of lying to investigators about why she sold 3,928 shares of ImClone Systems (IMCL) stock on Dec. 27, 2001 — just before it dropped sharply on a negative government report about an ImClone cancer drug.
The domestic style maven says she and her stockbroker, Peter Bacanovic (search), had a pre-existing arrangement to sell the stock. The government says Stewart was tipped that ImClone founder Sam Waksal was trying to sell his shares.
Stewart is also accused of deceiving shareholders in her own company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSO), and trying to prop up its stock by declaring in 2002 that she was innocent in the ImClone investigation.
In a defeat for Stewart even before testimony gets under way, Cedarbaum ruled Monday that her lawyer may not ask jurors to speculate why Stewart was never charged with criminal insider trading.
Stewart's defense team also will not be allowed to argue that she is being prosecuted merely for claiming she was innocent, or that the securities-fraud charge against her is an unusual application of the law.
The charges against Stewart carry a prison term of 30 years, although federal sentencing guidelines would dramatically reduce the term if Stewart were convicted.
The jury selected for the trial also includes a translator; a woman who recently sued her dry cleaner for damages over an antique dress, and an events planner whose husband knows high-profile technology analyst Mary Meeker (search).
It took four days of one-by-one questioning last week for a federal judge to narrow down a pool of 165 jurors to the group who were cleared to be part of Monday's final round.
The judge claimed the unusual step of closing jury selection was needed to ensure a fair jury. She agreed to release transcripts of the juror interviews, minus the names.
Last week, 17 news groups, including The Associated Press, filed court papers arguing Cedarbaum violated the First Amendment. Although the appeal -- to be heard Monday by a federal appeals court -- comes too late to affect the Stewart trial, it could affect future cases.
Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.