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Juror: 'Victory for the little guys'

Chappell Hartridge
Chappell Hartridge

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NEW YORK (CNN) -- A juror in the Martha Stewart trial emerged from court Friday and said, "This is a victory for the little guys ... No one is above the law."

Chappell Hartridge was one of four men and eight women on the jury that deliberated for three days in the obstruction of justice trial before finding the lifestyle maven guilty.

Hartridge said the panel was well aware that people's lives were in their hands.

"Before we made any decisions we combed the evidence, we talked about it," he said after the trial had concluded. "We wanted to be very sure about this."

"We knew that all the attention this was going to get, so we wanted to make sure that we did the right thing," said Hartridge.

Stewart was found guilty of all four charges against her, and her former broker, Peter Bacanovic, was found guilty of four of five charges against him.

Hartridge said that appearances in court by celebrities like Bill Cosby and Rosie O'Donnell did not carry any weight with jurors.

"Not at all," he said.

He also said Stewart's not taking the stand had no effect because he did not expect her to testify.

Hartridge said the panel considered the strongest evidence against Bacanovic his "constant statements that he spoke to Martha and did the trade" when they had evidence that his assistant, Douglas Faneuil, had actually done the trade.

Faneuil, the juror said, "got pulled into this [the conspiracy]. ... He had no choice."

Jurors also found some holes in the testimony of Heidi DeLuca, Stewart's business manager, who testified that Bacanovic had set a $60 target price at which he would sell Stewart's shares in ImClone.

Hartridge said the panel felt the document generated -- a handwritten note with the set stock price -- was shaky.

A defining moment in the trial, he said, was when evidence was produced showing Stewart tried to delete her assistant's message from Bacanovic.

When asked what message the verdict sent to investors, he said the "middle investors" may feel more secure.

"They may feel a little more comfortable that they can invest in the market and not worry about these types of scams where they can lose their 401(k)s or just lose money on any plain stock."

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