Conroe, TX (SportsNetwork.com) – Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian
Peterson made his first court appearance Wednesday on a charge of child abuse
and tentatively has a trial date of Dec. 1.
Peterson, who is on an NFL exempt list while the court proceedings continue,
did not enter a plea Wednesday, although defense attorney Rusty Hardin
indicated that the former NFL MVP is expected to plead not guilty.
The felony charge carries a possible two-year prison sentence.
Hardin briefly spoke to the media outside the court room Wednesday, with
Peterson behind him, and said he asked for a trial to begin as quickly as
However, the noted attorney said the prosecution has asked for Judge Kelly
Case to be recused from the case after making alleged comments about the
lawyers. A hearing on whether a new judge will be assigned is set for Nov. 4.
Peterson is accused of using a wooden tree branch to hit his 4-year-old son as
a disciplinary measure, resulting in visible injuries to the child.
“This is a really good man that I’m proud to represent,” said Hardin on
Wednesday, adding that Peterson has been advised not to talk about the case.
“This is a case about parenting decisions. He loves his children very much.
“Adrian is chomping at the bit to publicly talk. … Let’s don’t rush to
judgment. There’s always another side.”
Hardin, who represented Roger Clemens in the pitcher’s 2012 perjury trial on
charges that he lied to Congress about taking performance-enhancing drugs,
would not answer specific questions Wednesday and took the Bill Belichick
route, referencing the New England Patriots coach from one of his recent press
conferences about moving forward
“Instead of we’re on to Cincinnati, we’re on to trial,” Hardin mused.
Peterson was initially deactivated prior to a Week 2 game against New England
after being indicted in September, then was reinstated by the team the
However, after backlash from sponsors, fans and the Minnesota government, the
Vikings reversed course and placed the star running back on the NFL’s
exempt/commissioner’s permission list. He is being paid despite not playing.