George Milner, the attorney for Dallas Cowboys player Josh Brent, who has been charged with intoxication manslaughter in connection with the Dec. 2012 death of teammate Jerry Brown Jr., held a news conference Tuesday accusing Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins of violating Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct regarding pre-trial publicity.
On Friday, Watkins, speaking on 105.3 the Fan, said Brent will be found guilty and should remain incarcerated ahead of his trial because he continues to use alcohol and illicit drugs:
Milner said Tuesday that defense attorneys are concerned about the inflammatory statements and the impact they may have on those selected for the jury.
"We're concerned about a number of statements that he said in there that were inflammatory. As he knows, as does every lawyer, there are rules about what you can say in terms of pretrial publicity, particularly in the case that's getting the kind of media attention that we're getting here. Based upon what he said, and the concern that it might happen again, Mr. Brooks and I are going to file a motion asking that the judge compel the district attorney, and all the assistants, although there hasn't been an issue with the assistants, ask them to compel them to comply with the Texas Ethical Rules, 3.07, regarding pretrial publicity. We'll file that tomorrow and I anticipate a hearing very quickly," Milner said. "There are very specific rules which prohibit lawyers from making certain extrajudicious statements. In other words, he can say whatever he wants in a courtroom, but outside the courtroom there are limits on it. The reason is we don't want to create false impressions or cause inflamed jurors, potential jurors."
Milner made specific mention of a statement made by the district attorney where he said Brent will be found guilty. Watkins' statement, as said to KRLD-FM, can be read below:
"At the sentencing part of the trial, if we get to that point where he's convicted, the psychological evaluation will play a part in the judge's determination on what sentence he'll give Mr. Brent. He hasn't been found guilty yet, but when he is, obviously the judge will order a psychological evaluation to factor that into the equation on what sentence he's going to give Mr. Brent."
"Addictions are very hard to overcome. We see this on a daily basis. This is par for the course. Obviously Josh Brent has an issue with alcohol and you just can't, you know, one day decide to stop using it. I think he's struggling with that."
"He also made the statement suggesting that Mr. Brent is continuing to consume alcohol when their own witnesses testified, unequivocally, that the SCRAM monitor proves conclusively that he hasn't touched one drop of alcohol. He hasn't consumed a drop. And so what he said was not only improper, but it was false," Milner said.
Watkins' statement, as said to KRLD-FM, can be read below:
"In this case, we think its better served that we seek a conviction and incarceration against Mr. Brent. A person lost his life here. Mr. Brent, based upon the tests that we've seen, still uses alcohol and illicit drugs. And so for us to protect the public and send a message, we feel that we have a responsibility to make sure that he loses his freedom."
Brent appeared in court May 24 when questions were raised about whether he'd consumed alcohol based on readings from an ankle monitor he wears as a condition of his bond. It was determined at that time that Brent had not consumed alcohol, but had been in the presence of alcohol. At that time, Brent was ordered by the court to submit to a urinalysis test to insure his compliance with the bond agreement. The results of the urinalysis showed Brent tested positive for marijuana use within 30 days of the administering of that test.
According to court documents, Brent was tested for marijuana again on June 19 and on June 25 a positive result from that test was confirmed. (See Dallas County's court notification on Brent's failed drug test here)
"We want to play by the rules, that's all we want, and up until now that's what's its been, but last Friday that changed," Milner said. "We're asking him to abide by the rules that he should already be abiding by."
Milner, who made no statement about his client's failed drug tests, is expected to file the motion on Wednesday.