The intoxication manslaughter trial of former Dallas Cowboy defensive tackle Josh Brent began on Monday in Dallas.
Brent, 25, is accused of being intoxicated at the wheel and causing the death of his former college teammate, Jerry Brown, in a December 2012 car crash.
The trial began with Brent’s lawyer contesting the charge that his client was too drunk to drive on the night of the incident.
Police in the Dallas suburb of Irving say blood tests showed that Brent’s blood-alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit after the crash.
But George Miller, who will be representing Brent, argued that the former Cowboys player’s size means he could drink more than the average person without becoming intoxicated:
“Josh Brent is as big as a house,
“He’s got a heart – better yet a mind – of a person much younger than he really is.”
At the time of the incident Brent was a 320-pound lineman.
And in response to police video footage, which shows Brent struggling to complete a field sobriety test immediately after the crash, Miller argued:
“Nobody’s going to be able to do the tricks on the side of the road” after such a large impact incident.
The issue of intoxication dominated the first day as the prosecution and defence made their opening remarks.
Prosecutor Heath Harris said, in receipts attained from a nightclub the pair had visited that evening, he could prove that Brent had purchased cocktails that included several shots of liquor, and three bottles of Champagne.
On the same video as mentioned above, Brent is heard admitting to having “a reasonable amount” to drink, but told officers right after the crash that he hadn’t had any hard liquor.
Brent’s legal team is arguing for probation, but if he is found guilty the former Cowboy faces up to 20 years in prison.
Brent and Brown had played together at the University of Illinois, and Brown had just been invited to join the Cowboys’ practice squad.