It’s been a long offseason when it comes to the Saints’ bounty case. And it’s been a long day in federal court as linebacker Jonathan Vilma attempts to have his one-year suspension lifted as his effort to overturn the suspension permanently proceeds.
An Associated Press item that has been updated with the last hour explains that Vilma, interim head coach Joe Vitt, and former teammates Troy Evans and Randall Gay have testified so far.
All witnesses said that Vilma never offered money to teammates for inflicting injury on opponents.
Vilma’s one-year suspension arises largely from the NFL’s belief that he offered $10,000 to any player who knocked former Vikings quarterback Brett Favre out of the 2009 NFC title game, and the same amount to any player who knocked former Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner out of a divisional playoff game a week earlier.
Tulane law professor Gabe Feldman, who is present at the hearing, says via Twitter that questions posed by Judge Helen G. Berrigan suggest that the “field has tilted” in Vilma’s favor. She has raised pointed questions about Commissioner Goodell’s jurisdiction over the bounty appeals.
Judge Berrigan could adjourn the proceedings at some point until Friday or another day, or she could continue until all evidence has been introduced.
Per Feldman, Judge Berrigan won’t be permanently ending the injunction on Thursday. She could still lift it pending resolution of the litigation.
For those of you curious as to what Thursday’s hearing is — and isn’t — about, here’s the relevant portion of Thursday’s PFT Live.