A former Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman convicted of killing a teammate while driving drunk in 2012 broke his silence Monday about the night that derailed his career, saying he “cannot honestly recall” how many drinks he downed before getting behind the wheel.
Josh Brent, 30, testified Monday for the first time about the events that preceded the wreck that killed teammate Jerry Brown, 25, after Brent drove at least 110 mph in a 45-mph zone with a blood alcohol level of 0.18 — more than twice the legal limit — after a night out in Irving, Texas, in December 2012, the Dallas Morning News reports.
Brent testified that he had two shots and two cognacs during dinner prior to the deadly crash, but the hulking NFL lineman, who weighed 320 pounds at the time of the crash, insisted he wasn’t inebriated. He then left to pick up Brown at the apartment they shared, Brent told jurors.
Once at the apartment, Brown — who was on the Cowboys’ practice squad at the time — wasn’t ready, so Brent played PlayStation. He testified that he did not drink any additional alcohol while waiting for Brown to finish getting ready.
But Brent acknowledged not being able to remember how many drinks he had alongside Brown at the now-shuttered bar Beamers. Brent said a waitress there brought over three bottles of champagne he ordered, as well as a bottle of cognac — of which he had two drinks before stowing it away, he testified.
“I cannot honestly recall,” Brent said when asked if he remembered drinking from the bottle at the bar, despite video footage showing him doing so, according to the newspaper.
Brent — who did not testify during his criminal trial — was convicted of intoxication manslaughter and received a 10-year suspended prison sentence before serving about six months in jail. He initially retired from the NFL while awaiting trial in 2013 before retiring for a second time in 2015.
Brent, who now works as a scouting intern for the team, took the stand in Dallas County in connection with a civil case brought by Brown’s mother, Stacey Jackson, who is suing Beamers and its management company.
Brent doesn’t have an attorney working for him in the case because he can no longer afford one, he testified. The former Cowboy claims he wasn’t drunk when he got to the bar, but said he was by the time he left.
Attorneys for the bar’s management company, meanwhile, have said Brent was not intoxicated at the club, where servers are barred by state law from giving more alcohol to any patron who is already intoxicated.
Brown’s mother said years ago she had forgiven Brent for the deadly crash.
“He is still responsible, but we can’t go on in life holding a grudge,” Jackson said during Brent’s criminal trial. “We all make mistakes.”
Jackson has yet to testify in the civil case, but Brent told jurors Monday that they still talk frequently.
The former teammates, according to testimony, were drinking in a VIP section of the club prior to the crash. Other teammates were also at the bar. In addition to the three bottles of champagne and a bottle of cognac, vodka may have been at the table as well, according to the newspaper.
Two waitresses at the club, however, testified last week that they didn’t think Brent was inebriated at the hotspot. Video footage from inside the bar showed Brent taking swigs straight from a champagne bottle and possibly a second bottle of booze, the Morning News reports.
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