Michael Bennett surrenders to face felony charge; lawyer says he's innocent
HOUSTON, Texas -- Former Seahawk defensive lineman Michael Bennett surrendered to authorities Monday after he was accused of pushing a disabled security worker out of the way to get on the field at the end of the 2017 Super Bowl.
His lawyer, Houston defense attorney Rusty Hardin, said Bennett is innocent.
"He didn't do it," Hardin told reporters after Bennett's brief court hearing according to a live feed from station KTRK via CNN. "Michael did not assault this lady ... Michael never touched her."
Hardin said police and prosecutors do not have the full story in the case and that once they do, he expects that the charge will be dropped.
Bennett was fingerprinted, then taken off to the Harris County Sheriff's Office where he was expected to post $10,000 bail.
Judge Robert Johnson told Bennett and Hardin that he didn't want to embarrass the professional football player but that he could not agree to a request that he not be handcuffed. The judge said he could not give Bennett special treatment.
Bennett was handcuffed after he left the courtroom.
Bennett arrived in Houston on Sunday from his home in Hawaii, Hardin told the court. Bennett will be allowed to return to Hawaii after he posts bond.
He was accused of pushing the 66-year-old security worker, who is a paraplegic and was in a motorized wheelchair, out of the way to get on the field after the Super Bowl. The New England Patriots won in a comeback, and Bennett's brother, Martellus, was a tight end on the team.
At a news conference Friday, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo called Bennett's alleged actions "pathetic."
"He's morally bankrupt. There's not excuse for that. None. Zero," Acevedo said.
Hardin called the police chief's comments "over the top."
Nothing in Bennett's past would indicate that he would have pushed the woman, Hardin told reporters.
He noted that Bennett was the Seahawks' Man of the Year in 2017.
"This guy is not morally bankrupt," Hardin said. "He's one of the best guys I've ever met."
Bennett was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this year.