Tags: adrian | peterson | plea | deal

Adrian Peterson Cuts Plea Deal With Fine in Child Abuse Case

Image: Adrian Peterson Cuts Plea Deal With Fine in Child Abuse Case
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. (Jeff Curry/Reuters/Landov)

Tuesday, 04 Nov 2014 06:27 PM

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson cut a deal to avoid trial on a child-abuse charge, pleading no contest to a misdemeanor of reckless assault that may clear the field for his return to professional football.

Texas Judge Kelly Case in Conroe today fined Peterson $4,000 and ordered him to perform 80 hours of community service. The judge deferred making a finding in the case for two years, meaning Peterson’s record could be wiped clean then if he stays out of trouble.

Peterson, a Pro Bowl MVP, was indicted Sept. 12 by a grand jury on one felony count of injury to a child for hitting his 4- year-old son with a switch -- a whip fashioned from a thin tree branch. He faced as long as two years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

“I truly regret this incident and I stand here and take full responsibility for my actions,” Peterson told reporters after today’s hearing. “I love my son more than anyone can imagine. I am just glad this is over.”

A plea of no contest allows a defendant in some jurisdictions to strike a plea bargain with prosecutors without admitting guilt.

Peterson was also placed on probation for two years with monthly random drug tests. The community service is to include public service announcements and parenting classes, according to Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon.

Fair Result

“That’s a fair result because both sides faced some risk at trial,” Dan Cogdell, a Houston criminal-defense attorney, said in a phone interview before the plea hearing. “With Peterson’s star power and cachet, those kinds of cases are always more difficult to prosecute.”

If Peterson’s attorney combined a misdemeanor plea with “an under-or-over-the-table handshake with the NFL to get back to the playing field,” that’s a good outcome for the athlete, too, Cogdell said. Cogdell, who negotiated lenient plea deals for executives charged with white-collar crimes at Enron Corp. and Stanford Financial Co., isn’t involved in Peterson’s case.

The running back has been on the NFL commissioner’s exempt list and hasn’t played since the first regular-season game. He’s still being paid his $11.75 million salary this year but he can’t take part in any of the Vikings’ team activities until the NFL commissioner decides to lift the exemption.

Peterson said he looked forward to “getting back and playing football,” but would talk about any discussions with the NFL.

“I can’t imagine the NFL wants to get too crazy with the penalty” for an offense “that’s the functional equivalent of a DWI,” Cogdell said, referring to a drunk-driving charge.


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Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson cut a deal to avoid trial on a child-abuse charge, pleading no contest to a misdemeanor of reckless assault that may clear the field for his return to professional football. Texas Judge Kelly Case in Conroe today fined Peterson...
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2014-27-04
Tuesday, 04 Nov 2014 06:27 PM
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