It took many months for Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy to face a jury trial on domestic violence charges stemming from an incident last May, but the jury turned out to be an unnecessary part of the process.
The trial was supposed to start on Monday morning, but everyone who turned out to cover the case is reporting that charges have been dismissed against Hardy. The reason for the decision from prosecutors appears to be the absence of Nicole Holder, who was Hardy’s ex-girlfriend and accuser, from the proceedings.
Holder was part of an earlier trial in front of a judge only that ended with Hardy found guilty, but Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer reports that there are no transcripts from testimony in misdemeanor bench trials. Person also reports that the prosecution has “reliable info” about a settlement between Hardy and Holder that appears to have persuaded Holder not to cooperate with the attempt to convict Hardy, but Hardy had no comment before leaving the courthouse.
Hardy’s now on track to become a free agent on March 10 without the prospect of said conviction hanging over his head as he tries to land a deal to resume his career after a lost 2014 season. There’s still a chance of league discipline, but Hardy’s outlook for a full return in 2015 is looking a lot better than it was a few hours ago.