NFL lawsuit against Mecklenburg Co. DA dismissed after agreement

NFL lawsuit against Mecklenburg Co. DA dismissed after agreement

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A lawsuit recently filed by the National Football League (NFL) against the District Attorney's Office over the Greg Hardy case evidence was dismissed Monday after an agreement was filed last week.

Hardy, a former Carolina Panthers' defensive end, was arrested in May 2014 after the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) responded to a 911 call at his uptown apartment.

The accuser, Nicole Holder, testified for a judge trial in July and dozens of photos were submitted into evidence documenting Holder's injuries. At that time Hardy was found guilty.

Hardy's team of lawyers immediately filed for an appeal and the judge in the case order all the evidence to be sealed for the jury trial. When the jury trial did not happen, a judge ordered all the evidence to be returned to the submitting parties.

In February, the charges of assault on a female and communicating threats were dropped against the football player because his ex-girlfriend Nicole Holder did not cooperate with prosecutors and could not be found to testify.

The NFL filed a lawsuit to see seven specific photos in the prosecutor's file from Hardy's first trial.

The league has been conducting an investigation of its own into Hardy's case. According to court documents, the league is trying to determine if he violated the personal conduct policy.

Hardy signed with the Dallas Cowboys earlier this year.

The NFL had previously been given access to CMPD's photos, but it was missing seven photos that were submitted into evidence not taken by the police department.

The DA's Office agreed to allow the NFL, the NFL Players Association, Greg Hardy's attorney, as well as their experts, to view the seven photographs described in the order.

They were not given copies of the photos and they were not allowed to make copies of the photos.

The agreement even included limitations on the descriptions of the photos in any report, discipline letter, arbitration or within the context of an appeal relating to such disciplinary action.

"The office believes that releasing these images – which are very personal in nature – to the public would undermine the work that has been done in this community to encourage victims to cooperate with police and prosecutors in cases of domestic violence," the District Attorney's office said.

"The DA's Office allowed the severely limited use of these photographs because the NFL agreed to keep the photographs confidential and demonstrated its need for the photos in a disciplinary hearing based on the same conduct that was the basis of the criminal charges that involved alleged domestic violence."

When reached Monday, the NFL had no comment about the case, but last week said "we appreciate the District Attorney's office agreeing to make the information available to us and we look forward to the opportunity to review the photographs."

It is not clear who took the photos, possibly a patient advocate who was with Holder at the hospital.

CMPD said the stipulations are "for the protection of witnesses or informants who might have provided information to the police as well as to protect investigative techniques."

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