Palm Beach News

Vermont Con Man Asked for $500,000 to Throw John Goodman Trial

Polo mogul John Goodman's second trial for DUI manslaughter may be done, but there are still some big unanswered questions hanging over the proceedings. New information is now trickling out over a Vermont man's offer to sway the jury, a scam that could tee up the trial for a potential appeal down the line. Goodman has the deep pockets to keep his legal team clogging up the process, and an irregularity like this seems like a prime issue to raise.

James Perron, a 48-year-old felon from Tinmouth, Vermont, was the man behind the offer, according to the Palm Beach Post. The paper reports that Perron sent a text message to witness and Goodman friend Kris Kampsen on October 23 offering to steer the jury toward a deadlock for $500,000. For an acquittal, Perron said the charge would be $1 million.

"I have a message from a family member that could help your friend. I don't need to explain," the con wrote to Kampsen.

The witness contacted Palm Beach County Sheriff deputies, who used his phone and pretended to set up a deal with Perron. Three days after the initial text, Perron was busted in a sting operation by FBI agents at a hotel in Albany, New York. Law enforcement has determined that the con didn't actually have any ties to the jury that could have changed the Goodman outcome.

Perron has a particularly gruesome criminal record. In 1989, he was convicted by a jury of attempted murder, rape, and sodomy charges after assaulting a woman in the woods behind a bar in Hampton, Vermont. In 2001, the conviction was overturned after a court found Perron had had bad legal representation. In 2002, he pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree murder after the charges were refiled.

In March 2014, Perron again was in trouble with the law. According to a newspaper in Scarsdale, New York, authorities say Perron scammed $50,000 from a elderly couple he did work for as a handyman and general contractor. He's facing a grand larceny charge.

Perron isn't the only irregularity that dogged the Goodman trial. Earlier in the proceedings, one juror reportedly was harassed by some people at the local hotel where the jury was being sequestered.

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Kyle Swenson
Contact: Kyle Swenson