Michael Bennett appeared in a Houston courtroom today and posted bail on his felony charge of injury of the elderly. The charge was filed last week when prosecutors said that, in a rush to get onto the field at Super Bowl 51, Bennett pushed through a crowd and hurt a paraplegic security worker. Today, Bennett’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, spoke to reporters and gave this explanation of what the defense will argue: Bennett just didn’t do it. From Les Bowen’s report for Philly.com:
Attorney Rusty Hardin said Bennett’s defense against the charge of striking an elderly paraplegic security guard in the aftermath of Super Bowl LI will be that “he just flat-out didn’t do it. It wasn’t a case of, ‘He didn’t shove her that hard,’ or anything like that. … He never touched her.”
And in NJ.com: “I’m going to say this with a smile and total confidence: they are going to change their mind. This guy didn’t do it.”
Hardin went on to say that “nearly everyone” who was there as a relative of a New England Patriot was trying to find their way onto the field, and it was possible that someone else trying to get to the field shoved the employee, not Bennett. Hardin added that he had witnesses, who prosecutors hadn’t talked to yet, who will say that Bennett didn’t shove the woman.
And, like many people, he seemed mystified by police chief Art Acevedo’s press conference, in which he called Bennett “morally corrupt,” “morally bankrupt,” and “pathetic.”
Hardin said “We don’t talk about capital murder defendants like that.” And given that just last week a school shooter—who shot dead a teenage girl whose relationship with him had ended—was described in one press report as a “lovesick teen,” he is not wrong.