DOVER, N.H. (AP) – Former congressional candidate Gary Dodds testified Wednesday at his trial that he doubted testimony from state police and rescuers over the past two weeks regarding his 2006 car crash.

“Everybody makes mistakes and I don’t have a problem with that because I think we’re all human, said Dodds, who’s accused of faking a story about crossing a river and getting lost in the woods after the crash to boost his lagging campaign. “I hate to say it but there was a lot of people who took the stand that weren’t very truthful.”

That statement was later stricken from the court record and a brief recess followed.

Dodds, 43, took the stand after more than two weeks of testimony in which prosecution witnesses said Dodds’ injuries were more consistent with his feet being exposed to water for a long period of time, not necessarily to the elements. Prosecutors claim he intentionally soaked his feet in cold water for up to 10 hours to make his story more believable.

Earlier Wednesday, the prosecution engaged in some heated exchanges with a defense witness who attacked the state police investigation of Dodds’ accident.

Robert Cox, a private investigator and retired state trooper in Massachusetts, testified the state police investigation of Dodds’ accident on the Spaulding Turnpike was sloppy.

Cox, who reviewed police reports, noted police never taped off the accident scene and witnesses and rescuers walked the scene and trampled the interior of Dodds’ vehicle.

“That scene was contaminated and disorganized,” he said.

Cox also noted that there were “numerous instances” in the interviews as well as the accident investigation that contradicted each other.

In cross-examination, County Attorney Tom Velardi asked Cox who showed him Dodds’ accident and rescue scenes; Cox said Dodds did. Cox also said he was paid $3,000 by the defense for 60 hours of service, when asked by Velardi.

Velardi noted that most accident scenes could be considered contaminated because, in most instances, witnesses and rescuers are on scene before a police investigation begins. When Velardi pressed Cox on this issue, Cox asked Velardi to rephrase the question.



Information from: Foster’s Daily Democrat, http://www.fosters.com

AP-ES-02-13-08 1612EST


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