Dec 16, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy (76) on the bench during the third quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Greg Hardy Trial Breakdown

It seems like forever since we heard the first news of the domestic charges against Greg Hardy and former girlfriend Nicole Holder.  The altercation between Hardy and his former girlfriend occurred in May.  Hardy was charged with misdemeanor assault and threatening Nicole Holder. He was found guilty last night on both counts.

Mecklenburg District Judge Becky Thorne Tin sentenced Hardy to a 60-day suspended sentence and 18 months of probation on the guilty verdict.  The punishment will be set aside by the appeal Hardy’s lawyers immediately filed.

From a football perspective, Hardy’s troubles off the field will more than likely strain the relationship between himself and management–famous for moving on from players that have off the field troubles. Hardy was franchised by the Panthers just this offseason, signing a $13.1 million tender months ago.

In my opinion, a non guilty verdict would’ve resulted in no discipline from the league or the Panthers.  It would be hard to justify any discipline for a domestic dispute that did not result in breaking the law.

The day began the best way it could for Hardy. Holder, again, was not present for roll call. If you have kept up with the story, Holder did not show up to the arraignment and fired her lawyer on the same day. She eventually showed up and the trial continued.

Here are the facts of the case, as well as a synopsis of  the most relevant testimony.

Getting together at Hardy’s apartment before going out.

Holder’s view of events:

  • Christina Lawrence (an uptown bartender in the bedroom of a friend of Hardy) was a key witness for Holder.  Ironically the two weren’t friends and she stated that Holder was very rude at the apartment before going out.
  • Lawrence says she remembered herself thinking that there were a lot of guns lying around the apartment.
  • Holder stated that Hardy became angry at the apartment when he spilt a glass of champagne and the group called him out for a “party foul.”

Hardy’s view of events:

  • Hardy claims that he was never upset over the spilt champagne and that the night was going fine.
  • The defense asked Holder if she had taken any drugs the night of the altercation.  She agreed that she had done cocaine before the group left for the club.
  • After being charged, Hardy was ordered to turn in all the guns he owned which is common protocol for a domestic dispute, but the police that arrived to the scene never saw or reported seeing any guns at the residence.


What happened at the club?

Holder’s Story:

  • Previously, before the trial, information had surfaced that Hardy became upset with Holder because of a short-lived relationship with Nelly (the rapper) who owns a minority share of the Charlotte Hornets.
  •  Holder stated that Hardy got upset when a Nelly song started playing in the club and he told her to go outside. The group left the club shortly after and headed back to the apartment.
  •  The defense brought up a previous case regarding Holder and a traffic stop in which the police officer found marijuana outside the vehicle. Holder stated that the “weed” must have flown out the window. The defense asked for a dismissal stating that Holder’s word could not be credible if the weed “flew” out the window.

Hardy’s Story:

  • Hardy stated it was just a regular night out.  He said that Holder had been upset with him over the last couple of months because he had ended the relationship at the Pro Bowl and did not take Holder to the Superbowl.
  • He said that he asked Holder to go outside and that the group left shortly after to head back to the apartment.

Once the group was back at the apartment it seems as if the party died down quickly.  Here is where the important part of the story goes two ways. Hardy vs. Holder.

Back at the apartment.

Holder’s Story:

  • Lawrence said she was laying in bed with a man named Marco when she heard someone getting thrown around.
  • Lawrence’s testimony continues but states she never saw any of the dispute, she only heard the two fighting in the other room.
  • Holder stated that Hardy threw her into the bath tub and started to choke her yelling that he was going to kill her. She thought Hardy was going to break her arm and she felt that she was going to die.

Hardy’s Story:

  • Hardy says Holder snapped because they were fighting and he decided to sleep on the couch. She then slung herself into the tub and when Hardy tried to get her out she said he would have to break her arm to move her.
  • Curtis, Hardy’s friend, says he was called into the room where he saw Holder going fanatic and attacking Hardy.
  • This is about the time that Hardy called 911 claiming he could not get Holder to leave and that she was on drugs.

The judge had decided earlier in the day that she wanted the case over by the end of the day.  The trial started early and finished around 10pm, long by the standards of most domestic violence trials.

The judge asked the defense if they could be done by 9 pm and that she knows the case and the facts well.

Throughout the trial, the prosecution worked on painting the picture of a big football player against a helpless women.  They wanted to show that there was no way that a 290lb DE for a pro football team could get beat up by a 150lb bartender.

The defense wanted to portray a partying bartender that would do anything to date/keep her high-profile boyfriend.  They pushed the multiple encounters with the police and drugs and that her word could not be trusted based on her past and drug use the night of the altercation.

The judge left the bench to deliberate in the back.


The Verdict.

The judge found Hardy guilty of both counts, domestic violence and communicating a threat. The judge stated that Holders story was more believable and that Lawrence had nothing to lose.  Hardy was charged with 60 days served; which means that Hardy does not have to spend time in jail unless he gets in any legal trouble during the duration of the sentence, and 18 months probation.

This is a huge blow to the Panthers and Greg Hardy’s career.  Hardy will surely serve a suspension from the league under the violation of the League’s personal conduct policy.  Commissioner Roger Goodell has historically taken each such violation on its own merits, incorporating the player’s past and the severity of the infraction to determine how long the suspension lasts.  After signing his franchise tender, Hardy was looking forward to signing a long-term contract.  With the newest developments his future with the organization is unclear.

Hardy’s assumed suspension may coincide with fellow DE Frank Alexander’s suspension from PEDs.  A place of strength and depth (the Defensive Line) just got weaker.   Thanks for reading and we would love to hear you comments and thought’s on the trial and what discipline you foresee coming for Hardy.  Leave you comments below and Keep Pounding Panther nation.  We will be ok!

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