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Juror: Libby is guilty, but he was fall guy

Story Highlights

• Jury had "tremendous" sympathy for Libby, juror Collins says
• Collins: "It seemed like [Libby] was the fall guy"
• Jurors said they felt "unpleasant" about passing judgment
• While deliberating, jury craved hot dogs from vendor across street
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Jurors in I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's perjury trial were certain of the former vice presidential aide's guilt, but they also harbored sympathy for him as a "fall guy," one of them said Tuesday after the verdict.

Denis Collins, a Washington resident and self-described registered Democrat, said he and fellow jurors found that passing judgment on Libby was "unpleasant."

But in the final analysis, he said jurors found Libby's story just too hard to believe. (Watch juror explain their verdict Video )

"It was just very hard to believe how he could remember it on a Tuesday and forget it on a Thursday and then remember it two days later," Collins told reporters outside U.S. District Court. "Having said that, I will say that there was a tremendous amount of sympathy for Mr. Libby on the jury." (Your e-mails: "Libby is the fall guy")

"It was said a number of times, 'What are we doing with this guy here? Where's [Karl] Rove ... where are these other guys?'

"We're not saying we didn't think Mr. Libby was guilty of the things we found him guilty of, but it seemed like ... he was the fall guy." (Watch how Libby could stave off jail time Video)

Collins said the jury believed Libby was "tasked by the vice president to go and talk to reporters."

"We never even discussed whether Cheney would have told him what exactly to say," Collins said. (Watch the White House react to Libby's conviction Video)

'This part is not fun'

Collins revealed additional details about the state of mind among the jurors who deliberated behind closed doors before convicting Libby of obstruction of justice, making a false statement to FBI agents, and two counts of perjury. (Libby convicted on four of five counts)

Collins said none of the jurors appeared to hold any animosity toward Libby, and some expressed a distaste for passing judgment on him at all.

"I had conversations with a couple of jurors who said, 'Wow this part is not fun,' " said Collins. "It's just a question of not wanting to pass judgment on anyone. And I felt the same way."

But he said the jury's sympathy didn't interfere with the verdict, "it was just the unpleasantness of doing it."

Amid all the serious deliberations about the fate of the once powerful chief of staff to the vice president, jurors were still tempted by distractions, including a hot-dog vendor they could see, and whose confections they could smell, outside the window of their deliberation chamber.

"The one extraneous bit of conversation that happened more than any other was the hot-dog half-smoke guy across the street in front of the DMV," Collins said. "We lusted after him and we actually had a plan to get some and it didn't work out."

Reaching a verdict

Collins also opened up about the nuts and bolts of the decision-making process. He said at one point jurors were using 35 Post-It pages that measured 2 feet by 2 feet to help them break down the testimony. "We took about a week just to get all the building blocks there," Collins said.

"There were some incredibly good managerial-type people who just took everything apart in to the smallest piece, put it in the right places, and it got to the point where opinion had very little to do with it," said Collins. "You just came to this conclusion that, 'wow here it is, right before us.' "

Collins said among their key points of deliberation were: motivation to tell the truth, motivation to lie, believability and state of mind.

"So we didn't do a straw vote right away," he said. "It was too big. It was too much. It was too important. We just didn't do that. So that's why it took so long."

The primary testimony that convinced the jury on most of the counts, Collins said, was Libby's alleged conversation with NBC's "Meet the Press" moderator Tim Russert. "Some of us believed it never happened," he said.

"We were told he had a bad memory and we actually believed he did." But that testimony was contradicted by testimony that he had an incredible grasp of details.


Juror Denis Collins talks to reporters Tuesday in Washington after the verdict was announced.




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