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John Goodman testifies in DUI manslaughter retrial

Wellington polo mogul denies being intoxicated at time of crash, says he has speech impediment


WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – A Wellington polo mogul on trial for the 2010 crash that killed a recent college graduate testified in his own defense Wednesday, saying he wasn't intoxicated at the time.

Goodman, 51, is charged with DUI manslaughter in the death of Scott Wilson, 23, in February 2010.

Authorities said Goodman, 51, was drunk when his Bentley ran a stop sign and slammed into Wilson's car, which plunged into a canal.

In 2012, Goodman was found guilty of DUI manslaughter and failure to render aid, but they were overturned because of juror misconduct.

Testimony in court has established that Goodman was at the Polo Club in the hours before the fatal crash.

Last week, prosecutors presented evidence showing that Goodman's bill totaled about $272. A bartender testified that Goodman bought 18 drinks, but she said he shared those drinks with friends and never saw him take a sip.

Scott Wilson was killed when his car was struck by John Goodman's Bentley and plunged into a canal in February 2010.
Scott Wilson was killed when his car was struck by John Goodman's Bentley and plunged into a canal in February 2010.

Marc Ganzi, a longtime friend to Goodman, testified for the defense Tuesday that he never saw Goodman drinking alcohol on the evening in question.

Goodman testified that the brakes on his car malfunctioned and the crash left him with a concussion.

When asked if he was intoxicated, Goodman replied, "No, I was not."

Goodman, who admitted to taking two tequila shots and having a vodka drink, told jurors Wednesday he has a speech impediment that may have been misinterpreted for slurred speech.

"Sometimes I'm halting and mumble and don't finish my thoughts," Goodman testified.

The founder of the International Polo Club Palm Beach claims he left the scene because he was disoriented and needed to find a phone because his wasn't working.

"I did not see Scott Wilson's car in the canal," Goodman testified. "If I had I would have gone in and tried to help."

Although his blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit, he claims he drank after the crash to calm his nerves.

It was while he was looking for help, Goodman said, that he stumbled upon a barn -- a place he referred to as a "man cave" -- where he found liquor.

"I drank it out of the bottle," Goodman said.

A jury was selected in Tampa and brought to West Palm Beach for the retrial because of all the publicity the high-profile trial attracted initially. Jurors have been sequestered in the hotel where they're staying.

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