Peterson Trial to Begin in December if Judge Isn't Nixed for "Media Whores" Jab
By Elliot C. McLaughlin & Ed Lavandera
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will tentatively go to trial December 1 on a felony child abuse charge, but that date could be pushed back if a Texas judge must recuse himself for calling attorneys "media whores."
Until the trial is finished, Peterson will be barred from having contact with the son involved in the criminal case, but the judge set no such parameters for Peterson's contact with his other children.
Peterson, who was accompanied by his wife, other family members and legal team, appeared in court during the brief Wednesday hearing. One of his attorneys, Rusty Hardin, and Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon engaged in a serious conversation for about 30 minutes before approaching the bench.
It was difficult for those in the gallery to hear what was being said among the lawyers and judge, but Hardin's spokeswoman said after the hearing, "I don't think the judge ever asked for a plea. As we said yesterday, if the judge asks, Peterson will plead not guilty."
It's not clear when Peterson will enter a plea, but a recusal hearing for 9th District Court Judge Kelly Case was set for November.
The possibility of a recusal was raised after Ligon approached the bench with Hardin's legal team and told Case, "It's come to my attention that on October 2 you referred to Mr. Hardin as a whore."
"I'm sorry?" Case interjected.
"... Mr. Hardin as a whore, specifically a media whore. And you also called me a whore or a media whore," Ligon said before requesting an apology.
"Yeah, that was meant as a humorous joke," Case said, "and unfortunately humor is sometimes taken the wrong way."
Ligon said the remark could prejudice Peterson's case and be construed as "biased toward the state of Texas" and again asked for an apology.
"Yes. Of course. I apologize to both of you," the judge responded. "That's not how I feel about any of you. I think you're doing a great job, and I've known Mr. Hardin for 25 years."
Hardin said, "Just for the record, I didn't take offense to it. I've been called much worse."
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