With family surrounding him – his wife Ashley, his mother Bonita and father Nelson – and prisoners across the aisle from him in the courtroom in Montgomery County, Texas, Adrian Peterson sat and watched the proceedings at his first hearing as his lawyer, Rusty Hardin, pushed for a speedy trial.
The Minnesota Vikings running back is facing a charge of reckless or negligent injury to a child. Hardin was pushing for a trial “the week before Thanksgiving” and hoping to get a trial “as speedy as possible” because Peterson can’t work until the trial is complete.
Montgomery County district attorney Brett Ligon asked for Judge Kelly Case to recuse himself after calling the lawyers “media whores.” Case apologized for the comment, but a hearing on which judge will hear the case is set for Nov. 4. A Dec. 1 trial date was tentatively set.
Hardin asked the court to seal “extraneous offenses” pending a ruling on the prosecution’s motion for recusal.
The charges against Peterson stem from an incident in May in which he used a switch to discipline one of his 4-year-old sons while the son was visiting him in Texas. Hardin’s office said Peterson would enter a plea of not guilty when asked to do so.
Hardin requested the speedy trial in an attempt to get Peterson back on the field as soon as possible. Peterson is currently on the exempt-commissioner’s permission list and unable to play until NFL commissioner Roger Goodell takes him off that list.
“He is unable to make his living,” Hardin told Case. “He has been champing at the bit to defend himself publicly. … We want a speedy to trial to get this resolved.”
The judge told the lawyers that “incarcerated individuals” have precedence to a speedy trial.
Back in Minnesota, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said he didn’t even realize Peterson’s first hearing was going on while the team was going through its walk-through practice, but he wasn’t going to worry about whether Peterson would be back with the team at any point this season.
“Nothing’s changed with me. We will continue to coach the guys that are here. We’ll worry about that situation when it happens,” Zimmer said. “And I wish the very best for Adrian, because I believe in him as a person and I believe in him that he’s a good guy. So, I wish the best for Adrian and then we’ll worry about the rest when more concrete news comes out.”
Peterson pushing for ‘speedy trial’
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