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NFL Player Adrian Peterson Will Face Trial in December
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Adrian Peterson, who is accused of striking his young son so hard that he left welts on the child’s skin, will face trial in early December.

Summary: Adrian Peterson, who is accused of striking his young son so hard that he left welts on the child’s skin, will face trial in early December.

Adrian Peterson, running back for the Minnesota Vikings, appeared in court today and received a tentative trial date of December 1, ABC News reports. Peterson was expected to enter a plea in today’s hearing in Houston, but no such plea was entered.

  
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Peterson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, has revealed that Peterson will plead not guilty to the charges he faces of reckless or negligent injury to a child. The charges stem from an incident where Peterson allegedly struck his 4-year-old son with a switch. Bruises and welts were observed on the child.

Today’s hearing was largely a status conference between Peterson’s attorney and the state prosecutor as they discussed setting a trial date at Judge Kelly Case’s bench. District Attorney Brett Ligon added he would move to have the current judge recuse himself from the case for calling both state prosecutors and defense attorneys “media whores.”

Peterson remained in the court gallery with his wife as the attorneys spoke to the judge at the bench. Hardin asked the court to set a trial date as expeditiously as possible, arguing that Peterson “has no ability to work” while the case is pending. “He’s getting killed publicly,” Hardin said. “He has been chomping at the bit to defend himself publicly and his lawyers have insisted that he not,” Harden explained. The prosecutor pointed out that Peterson has still been employed throughout most of the process.

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Hardin pushed for a trial date before the Thanksgiving holiday, but it appears that the first week of December is a more likely possibility. A hearing on Judge Case’s recusal, however, will be heard November 4.

Upon hearing that Ligon would be requesting him to recuse himself, Judge Case appeared flabbergasted. The judge apologized and remarked, “Unfortunately, sometimes humor is taken the wrong way.”



Hardin agreed to the court’s requirement that Peterson have no contact with his son until the trial is over. However, Hardin sought to have both travel restrictions and a curfew lifted. In addition, both attorneys brought up concerns regarding the media’s influence in the case. The prosecution noted a leak of photos that showed the injuries Peterson’s son suffered, and the defense noted that files that described past incidents should remain sealed. Although the prosecution pushed to introduce the files to the current case, the judge agreed that they should remain sealed as well. Hardin argued that they could “tremendously irreparably harm” his client’s position in the case.

Because the charges were filed in Montgomery County, where Peterson has a home, the hearing was held in Houston. If convicted, Peterson may face from six months to two years in prison.

After the hearing, on the courthouse steps, Hardin said of Peterson, “This is a good man that I am incredibly proud to represent. This is a case about parenting decisions and something horrible happened.”

In a September 15 statement issued through Hardin, Peterson said, “I never ever intended to harm my son. I will say the same thing once I have my day in court. I have to live with the fact that when I disciplined my son the way I was disciplined as a child, I caused an injury that I never intended or thought would happen. I am not a perfect son. I am not a perfect husband. I am not a perfect parent, but I am, without a doubt, not a child abuser. I am someone that disciplined his child and did not intend to cause him any injury.”

Photo credit: startribune.com



 

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