Adrian Peterson relaxed, all smiles in court as he faces child abuse charges

NFL star Adrian Peterson appeared relaxed and smiling in a Texas courtroom on Wednesday for the first time since being indicted on a felony child abuse charge last month.

Peterson, who had wife Ashley Brown by his side, was present at Wednesday morning’s hearing in Conroe during which his lawyer was able to secure an early court date for his case which means he could play again this season.

The Minnesota Vikings running back wasn’t asked to enter a plea, although his lawyer said he will eventually plead not guilty to the charge that carries a penalty of up to two years in prison.

Rusty Hardin, the NFL star’s lawyer, secured a trial date of December 1 after arguing that his client was unable to work until the legal situation is resolved. He also argued that Peterson was ‘getting killed’ in the media and couldn’t fight back outside the courtroom.

Peterson exited a black Cadillac Escalade outside the courthouse and was asked what he expected during his appearance. ‘I don’t know. We shall see,’ he said.

He was accompanied by his wife Ashley – the couple who had been on-and-off since college days finally wed earlier this year – and Hardin.

‘The only way to get this solved is to have a quick and speedy trial,’ Hardin said afterward.

Peterson wasn’t asked to enter a plea in court on Wednesday, but has previously said that he never intended to harm his 4-year-old son by spanking him with a tree branch earlier this year in Montgomery County, north of Houston.

If convicted, Peterson faces up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine in a case that surfaced as the NFL grapples with several players facing domestic violence allegations.

On Tuesday, Hardin had revealed that his client planned to plead not guilty.

‘If the court asks for a plea tomorrow [and we do expect that to happen] it will very definitely be NOT guilty,’ said Mary Flood, a spokesperson for Hardin.

She added that she hoped a trial date would be discussed at the 29-year-old’s initial appearance at court, but said: ‘We don’t yet know how the court’s docket is looking.’

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