Michael Bennett to plead not guilty if elderly abuse case goes to trial
Michael Bennett is facing a felony charge of injury to the elderly stemming from an alleged incident at the Super Bowl in 2017, and the Philadelphia Eagles defensive insists he is completely innocent. If the case goes to trial, he plans to plead accordingly.
Bennett’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, told Tim McManus of ESPN.com on Friday that Bennett has no intention of pleading guilty or agreeing to a deal.
“The only two possible outcomes for this case is the DA’s office [saying] they don’t have a case and dismissing, or a trial — one or the other,” Hardin said. “If and whenever they ask for a plea, it will be not guilty.”
Bennett was indicted by a grand jury on Monday and posted $10,000 bond after turning himself in. His next court appearance is scheduled for April 23, but Hardin does not expect a plea request at that hearing. The attorney said Bennett has been given no travel restrictions and will request rescheduling of his court dates if they interfere with the Eagles’ offseason program.
Bennett was in Houston to watch his brother, Martellus, play in Super Bowl LI for the New England Patriots. The elder Bennett is accused of shoving a 66-year-old paraplegic woman who was working security at NRG Stadium during the event as he was making his way onto the field after the game. Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said Bennett told people, “You all must know who I am, and I can own this m—–f—–. I’m going down to the field, whether you like it or not.” The woman allegedly suffered a sprained shoulder.
Hardin insists the alleged incident “just didn’t happen.”
“I just don’t think he did it. He certainly didn’t do anything intentionally, or negligibly or recklessly push or hurt her,” he said. “Now, did something else happen to her from somebody else? I just don’t know. I think the bigger issue is there were a bunch of people going through that door, anywhere from 20 to 35 people rushing to go down on the field to see their loved ones and celebrate with them. He and his family were with a group of other Patriot family members, and when the game was over, these different families all went to the floor.
“… I just know that this guy would never intentionally or knowingly push her or do anything to somebody in a wheelchair. That just didn’t happen.”
Bennett had some other legal issues last year when he said was the victim of racial profiling and physical abuse from police in Las Vegas. The department blasted him over the accusations.