The Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office will let the NFL examine seven photographs from Greg Hardy’s domestic violence trial as part of the league’s ongoing investigation of the former Carolina Panthers defensive end.
The photos show injuries sustained by Hardy’s ex-girlfriend Nicole Holder during an altercation at Hardy’s uptown condo last May, according to Monroe Whitesides, the Charlotte attorney representing the NFL.
The pictures were not in the case file that Charlotte-Mecklenburg police turned over to the NFL in February. The league filed a lawsuit in March to obtain the photos.
An order filed Wednesday allows the NFL’s medical experts to view the photos, which will remain in prosecutors’ possession. Hardy and the NFL Players Association also will have access to them.
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Whitesides said the photos are critical in the investigation of Hardy, who signed an incentive-laden, one-year contract with the Dallas Cowboys last month.
“Suffice it to say that we believe the photos were important in order to be as thorough as possible in the disciplinary process,” Whitesides said. “The one thing we want to be is thorough.”
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said last week he expected the league to wrap up its investigation of Hardy in the “near future.” The league is taking extra care in its probe of Hardy after it mishandled the Ray Rice domestic violence investigation last year.
A league spokesman said the NFL appreciates the district attorney’s office cooperation and that NFL officials “look forward to the opportunity to review the photographs.”
The D.A.’s office did not comment on the order.
Whitesides, the league’s attorney, said the NFL secured a similar consent order from the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office in February to obtain photos and a list of the shotguns and semi-automatic rifles Hardy surrendered to authorities after he was arrested last year.
But NFL investigators wanted the seven photos of Holder’s injuries, which were taken by someone outside of law enforcement and introduced during Hardy’s bench trial in July. In that trial, a district judge found Hardy guilty of assaulting and threatening to kill Holder.
“These are very important photographs that we need to look at,” Whitesides said.
Hardy appealed the verdict, and a jury trial was scheduled for February. The misdemeanor chargers were dropped when prosecutors couldn’t find Holder to testify.
District Attorney Andrew Murray said Holder had received a settlement from Hardy for an undisclosed amount.
Hardy remains on the commissioner’s exempt list while awaiting word from the league on his punishment under the personal conduct policy, which allows Goodell to discipline players without a conviction.
Under the new conduct policy, implemented in December after the league came under public fire for the Rice investigation, first-time, domestic violence offenders face a minimum six-game suspension.
But because Hardy’s arrest occurred seven months before the new conduct policy was in effect, the league could face a protracted, legal battle if Goodell gives Hardy the maximum punishment.
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