Defense rests in Josh Brent trial; closing arguments to be made - Dallas News |

Defense rests in Josh Brent trial; closing arguments to be made Tuesday

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The defense in the Josh Brent intoxication manslaughter trial rested Friday, the fifth day of the trial, but not before trying to discredit how Brent's blood was tested in a crime lab.

Brent, a former Cowboys player, is on trial for the car crash that killed former Cowboys teammate Jerry Brown.

An expert witness for the defense testified Friday that the blood test results in Brent's case are unreliable.  

Janine Arvizu, a quality control consultant, was critical of the Southwest Institute of Forensic Science. SWIFS is the lab that determined Brent had a blood alcohol content of .18 on the night of the crash that killed Brown.

Arvizu said SWIFS's accreditation came from the agency with the least rigorous standards.

The lab calibrates its machines every month instead of before every test as recommended, she said.

"It is extremely unusual not to calibrate with every batch," she said.

Arvizu said the chemicals the lab used to test Brent's blood were nine months expired.

"Using a reference material nine months after it expires is not an acceptable practice and renders findings unreliable," she said.

Aya Matsuda, a friend of Brent's, told the court she was always afraid to ride with him because he drove too fast. She also said she was at Club Privae and saw Brent the night of the crash, and that he was not intoxicated.

Matsuda operates three restaurants and was TABC-certified.

Brent left court Friday afternoon, but he'll have to return next week. Then, his guilt or innocence will be decided.

Jurors have seen video of the crash scene and Brent failing a field sobriety test. They heard from the toxicologist who determined his blood alcohol content, which he said was twice the legal limit.

The toxicologist said a man of Brent's size would have had to consume 17 drinks to reach that level, but waitresses who served him said they don't remember him having with more than a few drinks.

In order to prove intoxication manslaughter, the state has to prove that Brent not only had been drinking, but that he was intoxicated at the time of the crash.

The defense is hoping to refute the state's case and create reasonable doubt in the mind of at least one juror about whether Brent was drunk that night.

Brent could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of intoxication manslaughter. Jurors can also convict him of manslaughter.

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