John Goodman DUI manslaughter case: New juror misconduct alleged

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Wellington polo mogul John Goodman's defense attorneys are raising new allegations of juror misconduct, saying that a panel member who conducted a "drinking experiment" told fellow jurors beforehand that he planned to do so.

In a new motion filed Monday, Goodman's attorneys said juror Michael St. John called their office last week and said that juror Dennis DeMartin lied when he testified that he had not told jurors about his plans to drink three vodka and tonics at approximately the same time that Goodman did on the night of the crash that killed 23-year-old Scott Wilson.

St. John and other jurors told DeMartin that conducting the experiment was against the rules and he should not do it, according to an affidavit from the law firm employee who spoke with St. John.

St. John was not asked if DeMartin told the panel the results of his experiment, the affidavit states.

Goodman's attorneys in their new motion are seeking Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Colbath's permission to contact St. John and the other jurors to ask more questions about DeMartin.

St. John's statements give reason to believe that the other jurors were tainted by DeMartin's actions, attorneys Roy Black and Mark Schapiro contend.

"Since Mr. DeMartin reportedly told the other jurors that he intended to conduct the experiment... it defies belief that Mr. DeMartin would not have returned the next morning to report his "findings" to the other jurors," their motion states.

DeMartin self-published a 33-page memoir of his experience as a juror in the Goodman case in which he revealed the drinking experiment. Questioned by Colbath on May 11 about the claims in his book, DeMartin said he had been truthful, but said his experiment was not intended to determine if Goodman was guilty of DUI manslaughter. He also said he did not discuss his experiment with other jurors.

But Goodman's defense attorneys argue that DeMartin did not firmly deny talking to other jurors about the experiment.

"I believe I told that to the foreman after our verdict was done, if I recall correctly," DeMartin told Colbath.

Colbath has previously ruled that DeMartin's actions amounted to juror misconduct, but it didn't invalidate the jury verdict.

"I don't think it's material. I don't think it's prejudicial. Also, it didn't go into the jury room," Colbath said at the time.

St. John has made previous claims that threatened to upend Goodman's conviction. Questioned by Colbath about possible juror misconduct in late April, St. John said he felt pressured into convicting Goodman.

Goodman's defense team asked for a new trial based on St.John's claims, but Colbath sided with prosecutors who said St. John should have spoken up at the time of the March 23 verdict.

On Monday, Colbath for the fourth time denied Goodman's request for a new trial based on DeMartin's alleged misconduct. The ruling does not address the new claims of DeMartins' misconduct.

Colbath sentenced Goodman to 16 years in prison. He was released from jail Friday on a $7 million bond while he appeals his conviction and sentence.

He remains under house arrest at his Wellington estate, monitored around the clock by Palm Beach County sheriff's deputies.

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