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Defense For Ex-Dallas Cowboy Josh Brent Wraps Case Quickly

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Jennifer Lindgren
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DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – In one day, Josh Brent’s defense team presented all their witnesses and rested their case.

Closing arguments are set to begin Tuesday morning (court is closed on January 20 in observance of the MLK Holiday).

Brent’s defense team moved quickly on Friday, but not entirely by choice. The day began with Judge Robert Burns III hearing arguments, for hours, from both sides. He ultimately limited one witness and dismissed another witness from testifying for the defense.

The two prevented from taking the stand were expert witnesses, who Brent’s lawyers hoped would help show their client was not intoxicated the night of the fatal crash.

Before the jury could be seated Friday morning, Judge Burns called a hearing about witness Janine Arvizu.   Arvizu is a chemist, called upon to question the efficacy of toxicology tests.

The test performed at SWIFS — the Dallas County crime lab — on Josh Brent’s blood showed a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .189; more than twice the legal limit for intoxication.

When Arvizu presented her findings, Judge Burns said there was not enough scientific data and the jury would not be allowed to hear the majority of her testimony.

A second expert witness, ex-Addison police officer Charlie Foster, was also dismissed.  The judge said Foster was not listed as an expert before the trial began, and could not testify.

The jury did hear from two Irving police officers that investigated the crash and testified for the prosecution.

Officer Fairbairn told the jury that Brent reported his steering wheel being shaky, and police say it was unstable at the point he hit the curb.

A waitress from Club Privae was also called back to the stand. Emerald Kahn is the waitress who served Brent before he left the club and crashed his car.

Thursday, prosecutors showed surveillance video depicting Brent drinking from a bottle in the hours before the crash.

When questioned by defense attorney George Milner, Kahn told the jury that the club serves water out of bottles and that it was possible that is what Brent had in his hand.

A close friend and former neighbor of Brent, Aya Matsuda was called to the stand to testify.  Her family owns Japanese restaurants, and she told the jury about seeing Brent order takeout before they came to be friends.

Matsuda told the court that Brent, who lived in Las Colinas at the time, would walk to the restaurant alone, and leave on foot, because he did not have a car.

Milner implied that Brent grew up in a poor section of the Midwest, and may not have been a good driver.

He did not have a car during his rookie year with the Cowboys, and would rely on friends for rides to practice.

Matsuda said her family befriended Brent over time, and that she herself used to drive him on many occasions.

When Brent did get a car, Matsuda told the jury that he was a very fast driver.  She testified that she’d never seen Brent drink and drive. Defense attorney Milner has made the case that it was Brent’s speeding and bad driving that caused the wreck, not intoxication.

Finally Matsuda told the jury she was with Brent and some friends at Club Privae the night of the crash, between 1:00 a.m. and 1:45 a.m.  She said she did not smell alcohol on Brent, just cologne when he hugged her.  She said at no point at the club when she saw Brent did he appear intoxicated.

The defense rested Friday afternoon.  Closing arguments will take place Tuesday, January 21.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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