Polo Tycoon's Lawyers Allege Juror Misconduct in John Goodman Conviction

PHOTO: John Goodman and his defense teamLannis Waters/Palm Beach Post/Pool/AP Photo
John Goodman, left, and his attorneys react as the verdict is announced at the Palm Beach County Courthouse, March 23, 2012 in West Palm Beach, Fla. Goodman, a South Florida polo mogul was convicted Friday in a fatal drunken-driving crash.

Attorneys for convicted polo tycoon John Goodman filed a motion today for a new trial based on alleged juror misconduct, according to documents obtained by ABC News.

An alternate juror reported the alleged instances of misconduct to Goodman's lawyers, saying "it was clear" to her the jurors had made up their minds before the end of the trial.

A Florida jury found Goodman guilty of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide in March. He could face up to 30 years in prison when sentenced April 30.

Goodman's Bentley slammed into Scott Wilson's Hyundai and sent it into a nearby canal in Wellington, Fla., in February 2010. Wilson, a 23-year-old engineering graduate, was strapped into the driver's seat and drowned.

The multi-millionaire founder of the International Polo Club Palm Beach claimed his $200,000 car malfunctioned and lurched forward. He has also denied being drunk at the time of the crash that killed Wilson, although other testimony has contradicted him and his blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit three hours after the crash.

The motion, filed today in a Palm Beach County court, asks for a new trial or for Goodman's convictions to be overturned.

"The defendant bases these requests on several strains of jury misconduct that were recently reported to counsel, unsolicited, by an alternate juror," according to the motion.

The defense claims that jurors "repeatedly disobeyed their oaths and instructions from the court" in several ways, including by discussing evidence before the end of the case, by making derogatory comments about Goodman's wealth throughout the trial, and by ignoring instructions about not reading media coverage of the case.

The defense also alleges that two jurors made false statements in order to cover up a juror's "prejudicial gesture" and that the same juror improperly began writing a book about the case during the trial.

It was allegedly an alternate juror that called the court at the end of March, "wishing to report the various forms of misconduct she had witnessed during the trial," the motion said.

When the court did not respond, the motion stated, the alternate juror called the office of Goodman's attorneys and told them of the alleged misconduct.

The alternate juror said that even though the six-person jury, comprised of five men and one woman, were told not to discuss the case among themselves until the end of the trial, they did so "throughout the trial."

"We all had things to say about the trial as it progressed each day," the juror said in an affidavit. "On one occasion I reminded the jury that we had been instructed by the court not to discuss the case until the end. In reply, I was teased by being asked by another juror if I had a crush on Mr. Goodman."

The juror said that member of the jury would often mention Goodman's wealth.

"Most conversations about money was in the context of Mr. Goodman probably being guilty, but getting away with it because he has a lot of money. Although no one specifically used the word 'guilty,'" the juror said.

Before the end of the trial, the juror claimed, some jurors were saying they had to finish the case by Friday, March 23, because they did not want to go into the following week and one had a boating trip planned for the weekend.

"Based on the negative talk about Mr. Goodman's wealth and the issues discussed about the case, it was clear to me that these jurors had already made up their minds before Thursday, March 22," the juror stated in her affidavit.

The jurors signaled they had a verdict on Friday, March 23 after 5.5 hours of deliberation.

Defense attorney Roy Black's office said they have no comment at this time: "The motion speaks for itself."

Goodman has already settled a civil suit over the crash after adopting his 42-year-old girlfriend to help protect his estate.