Domestic violence charges were dropped against Greg Hardy this week, but now it appears that the NFL intends to become his new judge and jury.
The league filed a motion Friday seeking all the evidence from Hardy’s first trial, arguing that since the case against the Carolina Panthers defensive end is over, there’s no reason not to make the evidence public.
In July, a Mecklenburg judge found Hardy guilty of assaulting and threatening to kill former girlfriend Nicole Holder. Hardy appealed to Superior Court, and the charges were dropped Monday after prosecutors said Holder failed to show up.
Mecklenburg District Attorney Andrew Murray told a judge that Holder and Hardy had reached a settlement heading off any civil dispute, and that there were discrepancies in Holder’s earlier statements and testimony.
Hardy, however, remains on the NFL’s exempt list, which kept him on the sidelines for most of the Panthers’ 2014 season.
Now the NFL wants to do its own investigation before deciding whether to reinstate Hardy or punish him further. The former Pro Bowler faces up to a six-game suspension under the league’s new behavior policy.
The NFL declined comment Friday afternoon. The league has hired Lisa Friel, former head of the Manhattan district attorney’s sex crimes unit, as a domestic-abuse adviser.
The league’s motion asked the courts to release the evidence from Hardy’s first trial, which has been sealed under a judge’s order in preparation of Hardy’s appeal.
Presiding Superior Court Judge Bob Bell was considering the request as of mid-afternoon.
Representing the NFL, Charlotte attorney Monroe Whitesides argued that because the charges against Hardy have been dropped, “the reason for holding the exhibits under seal is now moot.”
Whitesides deferred to the NFL and declined further comment Friday.
Hardy’s is one of several domestic-violence cases involving high-profile NFL players, including former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and the Minnesota Vikings’ Adrian Peterson.
Rice was caught on video punching his now-wife unconscious in an elevator. Peterson was indicted on child abuse charges after using a switch to discipline his young son.
Holder said Hardy threw her both into a bathtub and onto a futon covered with guns before threatening to kill her. She said the attack occurred last May after a night of drinking and clubbing. She said Hardy had been angry for months since learning of Holder’s brief relationship with the rapper Nelly.
Hardy testified at his trial that Holder attacked him after being told she couldn’t stay the night.
Hardy, 26, played one game during the 2014 season but was paid more than $13.1 million. He is scheduled to become a free agent next month. Sources say the Panthers are not expected to offer the former Pro Bowl player a new contract.
His attorney, Chris Fialko of Charlotte, could not be reached for comment. Earlier in the week, he declined to say if the NFL had contacted him about getting a copy of a transcript from the first trial. The defense team, alone, hired a court reporter to be on hand. Staff Writers Joe Marusak and Joseph Person contributed.