Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Peterson attorney says witnesses will dispute police allegations

Posted by: under Adrian Peterson Updated: July 10, 2012 - 5:11 PM

Following his weekend arrest in Houston, Adrian Peterson will appear in court Friday as the legal process in this misdemeanor case continues. But according to Peterson’s attorney Rusty Hardin nothing substantive will happen at that arraignment setting. In essence, the judge will confirm Peterson does indeed have a lawyer and is out on bond. And both Hardin and the prosecution will exchange details of what they believe happened early Saturday morning when a scuffle between Peterson and nightclub security grew overly physical.

After issuing a statement on the case on Monday, Hardin joined Dan Barreiro on KFAN this afternoon to discuss things further.

“He is angry,” Hardin said of Peterson. “He does intend to fight it. And he feels like he has been really, really wrongfully charged. And he wants the world to know that.”

Here are the other highlights from that interview with Hardin again asserting that Peterson was the victim and not an aggressor in Saturday’s skirmish.

Barreiro: Can you start with, I guess, telling us what from your perspective or your client’s perspective happened at the club in question in the early morning [Saturday]?
HARDIN: Of course, some of the details we won’t share now until we talk to the prosecutors personally about it. Which will be this Friday. But basically, the important thing for everybody to know up there [in Minnesota] is that this guy didn’t act that way that night, not any differently than he ordinarily does. He’s not the kind of guy who goes and gets in fights in bars or argues with police. He didn’t push, touch or shove any police officer. He wasn’t acting out. We’ve talked to witnesses that were not connected to either him or the police and they all say the same thing. He was leaving the club. One police officer had some words because he didn’t think [Adrian] was moving fast enough or something. And then they jumped him. And I think when we get through with it, we’ll find that Adrian didn’t do a thing. In fact, he ended up being the victim. He’s got a couple bruises around his eye where he was hit a couple times in the face. And his shoulders were wrenched. Nothing of it is lasting and nothing of it will affect his ability to play ball or anything. But the scuffle? Only one person was scuffled with and that was him.

Barreiro: So Adrian never put his hands on anyone else?
HARDIN: Never. Never. And that’s multiple witnesses are going to say that. But what happens with instant media now, through no fault of anyone, once that allegation is out there, you can never get out in front of it until and if you let the system work its way. The original story that came out that was on TMZ was just a total fabrication. They were quoting the manager who didn’t even come up until after [Adrian] was arrested and didn’t see anything. And I’m not even sure he said what they claim he did. But if he did, that’s just a total false story. So when it’s all over, I think everybody up there in Minneapolis that followed him and thought so highly of him will have absolutely no reason to think any differently.

Barreiro: Another part of that report was that Adrian had gone to the bar to ask for one last drink, was not served, he became belligerent at that point and that’s what started the spiral.
HARDIN: Yeah, total lie. And there won’t be anybody who comes in and says that, I promise you. And that’s the frustrating thing. That’s what went out on all the wires and it had a sounding of authenticity, of being authentic because [TMZ] was quoting a named person and a manager. But that doesn’t change the fact that that was a total fabrication. I guarantee you there’s not anybody who’s going to come into a courtroom and say that … We spent 48 hours waiting to respond in any way until we could talk to people. We were contacted while he was still in jail Saturday morning. And we spent a couple of days doing our own investigation. Because it doesn’t help me or my client to go out in front and be saying stuff that turns out not to be true. So we waited until we were satisfied with what happened. And we are. We’ll share that with the prosecutors on Friday and ask them to look at it independently. And hopefully they’ll reach the right conclusion. But if they don’t, we’ll just have a trial.

Barreiro: Why would three or four security/police officers lie? Because the statement you sent out yesterday, in effect you’re saying they’re lying.
HARDIN: Well, they’re not all going to say what this [main accusing] officer says. I think you’re going to find that several of them who were involved will say that they didn’t see how it started, they didn’t see anything except the struggle and they went to help a fellow officer. You aren’t going to have four police officers lying. You are going to have a different version and a different interpretation of the two officers who are the primary ones who wanted to charge and who participated in it. They have a differentversion than I think all the other witnesses are going to have. Put it another way, I don’t think there’s going to be a single witness supporting what those two officers say.

Barreiro: I don’t have to tell you this. There are athletes who, because of their status, get into the “Don’t you know who I am?” mode once in a while. And maybe if they’ve had some drinks as well. And they think …
HARDIN: You’re absolutely right. But this guy’s not one of them.

Barreiro: But here’s where I was headed, Rusty. I’m asking, I guess, why did he not leave when asked to leave? I guess I’m wondering is if it’s possible that once again the truth is somewhere in between. That [Adrian] overreacted to them saying ‘Get out of here’ and then they overreacted and then things sort of escalated out of control.
HARDIN: Yeah, that would be a possibility. But that’s not what the witnesses say. What the witnesses say is that he was asked to leave. He was leaving. And he was being escorted out by the bouncer there who was simply walking with him and not touching him or anything. And according to what the witnesses are going to say, Adrian is calmly leaving when this other officer was getting a little aggressive. And then they had some words. Then all of a sudden, this officer jumps him. I think that’s what you’re going to find. You’re not going to find that he stayed around and refused to leave. I guess my frustration always – and it’s really nobody’s fault again – is that once the allegation is made and everybody starts looking to see whether OK it’s either true or some gradation of it’s true. But sometimes initial reports are just flat-out wrong. And that’s what this is.

Barreiro: Are there any civil implications here, Rusty?
HARDIN: Well there are always civil implications here when somebody is wrongfully charged and arrested. But that’s a way, way premature concern now. Adrian and we both feel that we’re not even talking or thinking about those matters right now. The first matter is to get the criminal matter resolved. And then he can decide if he wants to do anything else.

 

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