CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - When Panthers player Greg Hardy went to trial before a Mecklenburg County judge six months ago on domestic violence charges, his defense team hired their own court reporter to document every word of testimony.
It wasn't cheap, but they are reaping the benefit now as Hardy's team prepares for a new trial next week.
They will be able to use the transcript to bring newly hired co-counsel up to speed, and potentially use the transcript to impeach anyone who strays from previous testimony on the stand.
Hardy appealed his convictions for assault on a female and communicating threats, and the case was transferred to superior court. State law allows a defendant convicted by a judge during a district court bench trial to appeal for a new trial in superior court.
Hardy's ex-girlfriend, Nicole Holder, testified that Hardy assaulted her in his uptown condo and threatened to kill her last year after a night of partying with friends.
The state does not pay for court reporters to document district court, so assistant district attorney Jamie Adams doesn't have a verbatim record of the first trial. Adams will have to rely on notes and other evidence to re-build her case against Hardy.
She is seeking a copy of the defense team's transcript, but Hardy's lead attorney, Chris Fialko, argued that the transcript is part of defense trial preparation materials, and protected by attorney-client privilege covering work-product.
Fialko argued in a motion to quash Adams' subpoena, by saying that the state had an opportunity to hire its own court reporter and would not share their trial preparation notes with the Hardy team, if requested to do so.
The trial is expected to get national attention as it affects Hardy's NFL career, Holder's reputation and will re-focus the nation's attention on the issue of domestic violence and the NFL.
It's expected to take much longer than the one day bench trial. Jury selection and jury breaks will build in more time. The attorneys will also spend more time trying to win over 12 members of the jury, and not just one judge who already knows and understand the nuances of the law.