CHARLOTTE, NC (Joseph Person/The Charlotte Observer) - The Charlotte attorney for Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy is preparing for Hardy's jury trial on domestic violence charges to begin as scheduled next month during the Panthers' bye week.
Chris Fialko said Wednesday he is getting ready for the case to start Nov. 17, which is the Monday after the Panthers' home game against Atlanta.
A district judge in July found Hardy guilty of assaulting and threatening to kills his ex-girlfriend Nicole Holder during an early-morning altercation May 13 at Hardy's uptown condo. He appealed the decision, and under North Carolina law, was granted a jury trial.
According to court documents, Hardy now has a second attorney representing him – Frank Maister, a well-known criminal defense lawyer from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Maister was part of the defense team that represented a south Florida man who was convicted of DUI manslaughter this year in the 2010 death of a Miami Heat dancer.
Hardy has not played since a Week 1 win at Tampa Bay. He was inactive against Detroit the following week as the Panthers and the NFL came under increasing pressure to discipline Hardy and Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson, who was indicted on child abuse charges.
Hardy joined Peterson on the commissioner's exempt list Sept. 17, and Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman said Hardy would remain on it until his case is resolved.
Hardy continues to collect $770,000 a week while on his leave of absence.
Hardy has not been seen at Bank of America Stadium since going on leave, although Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he's remained in contact with him. A source close to the player said Hardy has taken a couple of trips in recent weeks, but still hopes to play this season if he's acquitted and reinstated.
Rivera said last month he hoped Hardy would feel welcome around the team facility, even though he's not allowed to practice. Among other things, Hardy has used his time off to get in the recording studio and work on his rapping.
"Greg's still in town doing Greg things. But he's also been working out, which has been good to hear. ... At the appropriate moment he'll be back," Rivera said.
"We haven't asked him to stay away. But at the same time we're letting him take care of his business. We're letting him take a step back."
Hardy, 26, tied a team record with 15 sacks last season and earned his first Pro Bowl appearance.