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Monday
Apr292013

Juror in Florida Polo Tycoon Case to Be Questioned

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.) -- A juror who voted to convict polo tycoon John Goodman of drunk driving manslaughter will be questioned Monday in a Florida court as part of Goodman's bid to win a new trial.

Juror Dennis DeMartin, 69, is expected to answer a judge's questions after being accused of juror misconduct by Goodman's defense team. This is the latest development in a string of motions for a new trial from the defense.

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

Goodman, 49, was convicted of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison and a fine of $10,000 in May 2012. He is currently serving his sentence in house arrest, pending the decision of his appeal.

His defense team filed a motion for a new trial based on alleged juror misconduct.

Controversial juror Dennis DeMartin is accused of lying and is scheduled to answer questions about alleged misconduct in a West Palm Beach, Fla., court Monday.

The defense claims DeMartin lied to get on the jury by not telling the court about his ex-wife's DUI during jury selection, according to ABC News' West Palm Beach affiliate WPBF-TV.

This is not the first time DeMartin has been called into question. He was the subject of an April 2012 motion for a new trial based on a 33-page book he wrote and published.

The book is called Believing in the Truth and attorneys say DeMartin "engaged in blatantly improper and thoroughly disabling conduct" by writing about a trial-related drinking experiment he said he conducted while in the midst of jury deliberations, according to the motion for a new trial.

A judge ruled that while DeMartin's behavior did qualify as misconduct, he did not believe that it affected any pivotal part of the case and was not grounds for a new trial.

DeMartin did not immediately respond to request for comment Monday.

A judge also denied a prior motion for a new trial based on an alternate juror reporting to Goodman's attorney's that "it was clear" to her the jurors had made up their minds before the end of the trial.

The court conducted interviews with all eight jurors from the case -- six jurors who served and two alternates -- before ruling that there was no misconduct.

Goodman, the multi-millionaire founder of the International Polo Club Palm Beach, claimed in court that 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, according to prosecutors.

Goodman fled the scene of the accident, authorities said.

Goodman, a multimillionaire who founded the International Polo Club in West Palm Beach, Fla., also made headlines when he adopted his girlfriend, Heather Hutchins, 42, in an attempt to preserve part of his fortune for her while negotiating a civil suit settlement. In March, a Miami appeals court reversed the ruling that allowed the adoption.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio