Greg Hardy will go to trial on July 15 for two domestic violence charges stemming from a May incident with ex-girlfriend Nicole Holder, according to the Charlotte Observer. At the time, Holder told police that Hardy had thrown her around his condo, strangled her and threatened to shoot her after throwing her on a futon covered with firearms.
Hardy will face Holder at the trial, though perhaps not of her own volition. She failed to appear at a hearing for her request for a restraining order last month, and shortly after her lawyer announced that they had parted ways. She was issued a subpoena to testify in Hardy's trial, which means she could face penalties if she doesn't appear in court, even though it's unclear whether she wants the charges pursued.
Hardy faces up to 60 days in jail for the incident, which occurred May 14. He reportedly went back to his condo with Holder for an after-party, and got into a dispute that began as an argument about Holder's previous relationship with rapper Nelly. Hardy and Holder were in the process of reconciling a relationship that had ended in March.
Details of what took place are somewhat unclear. Hardy's lawyer claims that Holder was the aggressor. The Carolina Panthers defensive end placed the first 911 call after the incident, and told the operator, "She will not stop coming at me, bro." In the police report, Holder claimed that Hardy "just snapped," and another woman who was allegedly at the condo called building's security desk in distress to say that a woman had been beaten there for more than 30 minutes.
Holder had scrapes and large bruises after the night. A judge ruled that Hardy should be held without bond for 24 hours, and that he must begin regularly attending Alcoholic Anonymous meetings upon release. He also had to turn over 10 firearms to police, including assault rifles and tactical shotguns.
Hardy's trial was initially schedule for this past Friday, June 20, but the date was pushed back so that the court could accommodate an unusually large number of cases that day. Holder's appearance will be pivotal to the prosecution, according to experts contacted by the Observer.
Even with a far more aggressive law that allows police to make arrests based on their own judgment rather than a complaint, a domestic violence case without a domestic-violence victim "is very, very hard to do," says George Laughrun, a veteran Charlotte defense attorney.
That testimony is critical because abuse allegations are so "personal," he says. A crime against a person needs that person to testify.
The Hardy case, which Laughrun believes will be a difficult one for prosecutors, becomes even more so if Holder doesn't appear.
"It attacks her credibility," Laughrun said. " ‘She got assaulted? She was afraid? She got thrown on a sofa with 25 guns? Well judge, if that all happened, where is she? Where's the evidence?'"
Beyond jail time, Hardy may also face suspension by the NFL. Neither the league or the Panthers have commented on the case since the news broke. At the time, the Panthers released a statement saying they were "disappointed to learn of the allegations involving Greg."
Hardy is in practice with the Panthers and is on track to play the 2014 season under the team's franchise tag. Prior to Hardy's arrest, the Panthers indicated interest in signing the defensive end to a long-term contract. The deadline for franchise players to sign long-term contracts is July 15, the same day as the start of Hardy's trial.