CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Prosecutors in North Carolina have agreed to let the NFL see photographs from Greg Hardy’s domestic violence trial as the league considers whether to suspend the defensive end who signed with Dallas last month.
An order filed Wednesday in a North Carolina court grants limited access to the NFL, the players association and attorneys for Hardy. The order says the photographs were provided by someone outside law enforcement. The NFL sued for access to them.
The photos were part of the Mecklenburg County district attorney’s evidence when the former Carolina player was convicted by a judge last year. The conviction was dismissed in February after the accuser couldn’t be found to testify when Hardy requested a jury trial.
“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,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said.
The Cowboys signed the 26-year-old Hardy to a one-year deal based heavily on incentives related to how many games he plays. The contract could be worth up to $13 million.
The NFL’s agreement makes it more likely that Hardy will be suspended to start the season. He played just one game last year before going on the commissioner’s exempt list, where he remains as the league investigates under a personal conduct policy that was revised after Hardy’s trial.
Hardy, who had 26 sacks combined in his last two full seasons with the Panthers, made $13.1 million last season as their franchise player. He was paid while on the exempt list.
A judge convicted Hardy after a woman testified that he threw her in the bathroom and later onto a futon covered with guns, placed his hands on her throat and threatened to kill her. Hardy denied those allegations, saying the woman became angry when he wouldn’t have sex with her.
The NFL filed a lawsuit two weeks ago seeking photos that weren’t among the evidence the league was given by police. Prosecutors had denied the league’s request for the evidence.
The league will withdraw its lawsuit under the agreement, which says the NFL can’t reproduce or publish the photos, “but may describe, draw conclusions from or reference the photos” in any disciplinary matter.