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Josh Brent wreck case put to rest by prosecution

Judge Robert Burns III looks on as Josh

Judge Robert Burns III looks on as Josh Brent talks with lawyer Kevin Brooks during Brent's trial for intoxication manslaughter in Dallas. (Jan. 16, 2014) Credit: AP

DALLAS -- Prosecutors rested their case against former defensive tackle Josh Brent Thursday after presenting testimony from two Dallas Cowboys players who were with Brent the night of a crash that left a practice squad player dead.

Brent is accused of drunkenly wrecking his Mercedes and killing practice squad player Jerry Brown in December 2012.

Brent faces 20 years in prison if convicted either of manslaughter or intoxication manslaughter in the death of his friend, who was also a teammate of Brent's at the University of Illinois.

Jurors heard from safeties Barry Church and Danny McCray, who played video games for several hours with Brent, then went to dinner and a nightclub with him and Brown. Prosecutors said credit-card receipts showed Brent bought drinks at dinner and three bottles of Champagne at the nightclub.

Both Church and McCray testified that they could not remember exactly how much Brent had to drink.

Prosecutors showed police dash-cam video of Brent failing a field sobriety test after the fiery wreck in the Dallas suburb of Irving. Police say blood tests showed Brent to have a blood-alcohol level afterward more than twice the legal limit.

To get that drunk, according to one prosecution witness, toxicologist Justin Schwane, the 320-pound Brent would have had to have 17 drinks.

"This is not a difficult case, ladies and gentlemen," prosecutor Heath Harris said in his opening statement. "There will be no disputing the fact that he was drinking that night."

That's exactly what George Milner, Brent's attorney, has done.

Milner told jurors at the start of the trial that Brent was "guilty of being stupid behind the wheel of a car," but not driving drunk. Brent's defense team peppered witnesses with questions about whether they followed proper procedures in handling blood tests and whether Brent seemed drunk to them either at dinner or the nightclub.

Milner has argued his client deserves probation, and Brown's mother says she has forgiven Brent. But prosecutors have made the case a priority, and it comes on the heels of another well-publicized case in neighboring Tarrant County in which a teenage driver was sentenced to probation in a drunken crash that killed four people.

Brent, a defensive tackle, had played in all 12 games of the 2012 NFL season before the crash. He retired in July.

Brown was signed to the Cowboys' practice squad that season.

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