John Goodman Jury Tampering Suspect to Remain in Jail Without Bond
As with his first trial, convicted polo magnate John Goodman's retrial wasn't without drama. Among the bigger issues was over a Vermont con man who offered to screw up the trial for big cash.
The man, James Perron, 48, allegedly texted a witness and Goodman confidant Kris Kampsen saying he'd be willing to sway the jury in exchange for $500,000. He upped the offer to $1 million if he was able to orchestrate an acquittal for Goodman.
Perron was eventually pinched in an FBI sting operation in New York and is being held in the Palm Beach County Jail. On Tuesday, fearing that Perron could be a flight risk, a judge ruled that the con man would not be freed on bond.
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According to authorities, Perron texted Kampsen, who played on Goodman's polo team and is owner of the now-infamous man cave where Goodman fled to and allegedly drank after he crashed and killed Scott Wilson in 2010.
Kampsen was also a witness in the trial for the defense, and it was he who reported the texts to the FBI.
Perron told Kampsen he had a relative who could somehow cause a hung jury for the right price. There was also an alleged offer to bring about an acquittal if Perron were paid $500,000 upfront and another $500,000 if there was an acquittal.
The FBI looked into the texts and eventually interviewed the jurors and determined that none of them was related to or knew Perron. In essence, Perron was trying to get his 500 grand and disappear without delivering on his promises.
Perron was busted in a hotel in Albany, New York, following a sting that led authorities to him. He was taken into custody on October 25 and indicted on November 20.
Goodman was, of course, eventually found guilty by the jury and was sentenced to 16 years.
Perron has an extensive rap sheet. He was convicted of attempted murder, rape, and sodomy in 1989 in Vermont.
In 2014, Perron was busted trying to scam $50,000 from a elderly couple he did work for as a handyman and general contractor in New York. He's facing a grand larceny charge.
Yet Perron is not the first person to almost derail Goodman's eventual conviction and sentencing.
Before the retrial even began, prospective juror Travis Van Vliet was arrested after he Googled "John Goodman" on his computer. Palm Beach County Chief Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Colbath had Van Vliet arrested on contempt-of-court charges, and he was eventually dismissed from serving on the jury.
Prior to the trial, rules were set that the jury would not search the internet, to avoid their finding any stories on Goodman that could potentially compromise them as impartial jurors.
A week after that incident, a female juror known as Juror 10 told Colbath she had been heckled by some people at the hotel's pool area who were warning her she would end up in jail like Vliet did.
According to a report, the woman told Colbath that a group of unknown people spotted her and that the following day the same people heckled her, saying, "You'll go to jail like Van Fleet."
And just last week, a male juror known as Juror 3 apparently broke court rules by accessing the internet on his personal laptop while in his hotel room.
The man claimed he was surfing the net to check on his fantasy football team.
Attorneys who questioned him say that the juror was evasive when they asked about it and that he initially refused to turn over his laptop or password. He eventually gave a deputy his password and allowed the officer to check his browser history in his presence. Colbath expressed doubt over the man's story, but both sides were satisfied and allowed him to remain on the jury.
In fact, the entire Goodman retrial happened over an incident with a juror in the original trial.
In May 2013, Goodman's lawyers successfully got courts to grant him a retrial after it was learned that one of the jurors apparently wrote a self-published book titled Will She Kiss Me or Kill Me? in which he wrote that his wife was once busted for DUI.
That juror, Dennis DeMartin, 69, failed during jury selection to disclose that information.
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