- Polo mogul John Goodman reached settlement with victim’s parents’
- Awaits sentencing April 30 and faces up to 30 years in prison for 2010 DUI death of Scott Wilson
Daily Mail Reporter
10:34 EST, 20 April 2012
12:27 EST, 20 April 2012
Florida polo millionaire John Goodman, convicted of DUI manslaughter earlier this month, has reached a settlement of $46 million with the family of the 23-year-old victim who died in the crash.
Goodman, 48, faces up to 30 years in prison after being convicted of drunk-driving manslaughter and leaving the scene of a crash that left Scott Wilson dead in February 2010.
The huge payout relates to lawsuits brought against the tycoon by the victim’s parents’, Lili and William Wilson, and comes before Goodman’s sentencing on April 30.
Polo tycoon: John Goodman has reached a settlement of $46 million with Lili and William Wilson – whose son, Scott, died after Goodman crashed into his car
Justice: Lili Wilson leaves the courtroom after the guilty verdict was read out – she and her husband have reached a settlement with Goodman
The Wilson’s attorney, Christian Searcy, confirmed the
figure to the Palm Beach Post and said that $6 million of the amount would be paid by The
Player’s Club – the bar where Goodman was drinking before the crash.
The settlement comes after Goodman,
the founder of the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Florida,
adopted his 42-year-old girlfriend Heather Hutchins
last October, entitling her to up to a third of his biological
children’s trust fund, worth $300million.
Scott Wilson was only 23 years old when he was killed in the car crash
At the time the Wilson’s lawyers slammed the move as an attempt by Goodman to shield his assets.
The revelation of the $46 million pay
out also comes after last week’s news that Goodman’s lawyers had filed a
motion for a new trial based on alleged jury misconduct.
The motion was made after an
alternate juror called Goodman’s lawyers claiming that it was ‘clear’ to
her that the other jurors had decided the defendant was guilty before
the trial was over.
Prosecutors successfully claimed that
Goodman was drunk when he rammed his black Bentley convertible into
Wilson’s car two years ago, causing it to roll into a canal.
The millionaire disputed the claims and argued in court that the crash was the result of a malfunction with his brakes.
Goodman left the scene and waited an
hour to call 911 while Scott drowned. He gave a dead cell phone battery
as the reason why he walked away from the crash scene.
After the crash, Goodman’s blood alcohol level was measured at .177 per cent, more than twice the legal driving limit.
At trial Goodman said he was sure of
one thing: he had two shots of tequila and two shots of vodka before the
crash, yet he was not drunk and that he drunk after the crash to
alleviate his pain.
After leaving a bar, he said his car
suddenly lurched forward into an intersection ‘and I began to apply my
brakes, and the car did not seem to be stopping as easily as I was used
to,’ he said.
Impact: The crumpled car driven by Wilson, left, and the Bentley driven by Goodman, right. Goodman said he drank from a bottle of liquor he found after the crash – the reason he was over the limit
Deadly: Wilson family members look at the Bentley Goodman was driving when he ran a stop sign in 2010
Unable to control the vehicle, it
slammed into the side of Scott’s – even though Goodman said he was not
aware he had hit another driver so left the scene.
If he had known someone had plunged into the canal, ‘I would have done whatever I could have done to help’, he claimed.
Goodman then went to a nearby barn where he found a bottle of liquor, the Miami Herald reported.
‘I … drank it to alleviate,
thinking it would help with my pain,’ he said, claiming it was the
reason his blood alcohol content was more than double the legal driving
level when his blood was taken three hours after the crash.
Goodman’s lawyers are now hoping for a
new trial or for the conviction to be overturned after an alternate
juror came forward saying the jury had broken pledges they made to the court.
Grieving: Lili Wilson, the victim’s mother, wept when Goodman’s 911 call was played in court last month
Bill: The court is shown Goodman’s receipt for drinks, allegedly bought for himself and others before the crash
The defense claims that the jurors
ignored the court’s orders by discussing evidence before the end of the
case, making derogatory remarks about Goodman’s wealth, and by reading
media coverage of the case.
The motion detailed how an alternate
juror reported the alleged misconduct to the court but when she did not
hear back she called Goodman’s lawyers.
She told them that the jury of five
men and one woman discussed the case among themselves ‘throughout the
trial’ despite being told they shouldn’t.
Newest family member: Goodman, right, adopted his 42-year-old girlfriend Heather Hutchins last fall. The move means she is entitled to up to a third of his biological children’s $300 million trust fund
‘We all had things to say about the
trial as it progressed each day,’ the juror said in an affidavit. ‘On
one occasion I reminded the jury that we had been instructed by the
court not to discuss the case until the end. In reply, I was teased by
being asked by another juror if I had a crush on Mr. Goodman.’
The juror also claimed that members of the jury often mentioned Goodman’s wealth’
‘Based on the negative talk about Mr.
Goodman’s wealth and the issues discussed about the case, it was clear
to me that these jurors had already made up their minds before Thursday,
March 22,’ the juror stated in her affidavit.
Lap of luxury: The International Polo Club, which Goodman founded, attracts A-list celebrities
Home sweet home: Goodman sold his mansion in Wellington, Florida to his children’s trust for $3.8million and now pays $2,000 in rent each month
The motion details that one juror
started writing a book about the case while the trial was still ongoing
and that jurors made ‘false statements’ to cover up another’s
The juror who spoke to Goodman’s
lawyers claimed that one of the jurors was keen to finish the case by
Friday March 23 because they had a weekend boating trip planned.
Wilson was a University of Central
Florida graduate and was working as a civil engineer at the time of the
crash. He had been driving home to Wellington to visit his family when
Goodman ran a stop sign.