DALLAS (AP) — Former Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent wasn't drunk, as police contend, when he wrecked his Mercedes in a crash that killed a teammate, Brent's lawyer told jurors Monday at the start of his trial.
Brent was "guilty of being stupid behind the wheel of a car," not driving drunk on the night of the December 2012 crash that killed his close friend and teammate, Jerry Brown, defense attorney George Milner said.
Milner's opening remarks signaled that he would try to discredit evidence of Brent's drinking central to the state's case, including a blood test that allegedly pegged Brent's blood alcohol content at more than twice the legal limit and dash cam video that jurors saw Monday showing Brent failing a field sobriety test at the scene.
If convicted of intoxication manslaughter or manslaughter, Brent could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.
Milner argued in his opening statement that the tall, lumbering Brent, who was a 320-pound lineman when he played for the Cowboys, could drink more than the average person without becoming intoxicated.
"Josh Brent is as big as a house," Milner said. "He's got a heart — better yet a mind — of a person much younger than he really is."
Prosecutor Heath Harris said receipts would prove that on the night of the crash, Brent bought cocktails with several shots of liquor in them and three bottles of Champagne at a night club. Brent told officers right after the crash that he hadn't had any hard liquor.
"This is not a difficult case, ladies and gentlemen," Harris said. "There will be no disputing the fact that he was drinking that night."
Dash cam video played for the jury Monday showed an officer asking Brent about how much he had had to drink while paramedics were trying to save Brown, a linebacker on the Cowboys' practice squad who was also a teammate of Brent's at the University of Illinois.
"I've had a reasonable amount," Brent is heard saying on the video.