Although I'm not convinced Martha Stewart should have been prosecuted so vehemently for her relatively minor crimes, the accounts of how her jurors reached a verdict are renewing my confidence in the jury system. She really did break the law, the law itself is just, and the jurors convicted her even though they felt sorry for her predicament.

"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." ...

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."

As I said, I'm not convinced she should have been prosecuted, but I do think the laws are important for protecting the integrity of capitalism and the big fish should be at least as scared of violating them as the little fish are.

Martha Stewart obviously wasn't very afraid.

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. ...

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."



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