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The Latest: Talks Continue After 'Deflategate' Hearing

TOM HAYS, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Here are the latest developments in a federal court hearing in football's "Deflategate" scandal, with the NFL, the players' union and superstar quarterback Tom Brady at odds about a four game suspension he received for using underinflated footballs (all times local):

1:40 p.m.

Private settlement talks aimed at resolving the court battle over the NFL's four-game suspension of New England quarterback Tom Brady stretched into mid-afternoon after a public hearing ended.

Brady seemed miserable throughout a hearing lasting more than an hour in Manhattan federal court. He didn't join the laughter of lawyers at several points, and slumped in his chair and kept his head lowered throughout the hearing.

Those moments included when Judge Richard Berman said he would "take exception" to an NFL players union lawyer's assertion that Brady's life is much different than their own lives. The lawyer was referring to Brady's need to destroy and change cell phones to protect his privacy.

Goodell suspended Brady after concluding he knew that two Patriots employees conspired to deflate footballs in the Patriots 45-7 victory over Indianapolis in January's AFC championship game.


1:15 p.m.

After the public hearing, Tom Brady signed the sketches of two courtroom artists.


1:10 p.m.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and lawyers for the league are meeting with a federal judge in private to discuss settlement talks in the legal dispute with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Brady waited his turn Wednesday after a hearing in a Manhattan federal court.

Judge Richard Berman pressed both sides about the scandal known as "Deflategate" before shifting the hearing toward private talks.

During the hearing, the judge asked the lead attorney on Brady's side why two Patriots employees would deflate balls without Brady's knowledge.

Jeffrey L. Kessler says the players' union does not believe the balls were deflated, but, if they were, the employees believed it would help their quarterback.

Brady and Commissioner Roger Goodell didn't speak during the hearing except to introduce themselves to Berman.


12:50 p.m.

A federal judge has declared the public part of a hearing into the NFL's "Deflategate" scandal over, though he's meeting separately with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to continue settlement discussions in private.

The public part of the meeting lasted more than an hour after an initial round of private meetings with each side.


12:30 p.m.

A federal judge is putting the NFL on the defense at a hearing over its four-game suspension of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, demanding to know what evidence directly links Brady to deflating footballs and saying at one point he questions where the "gate" in "Deflategate" comes from.

Judge Richard M. Berman on Wednesday repeatedly asked NFL lawyer Daniel L. Nash for direct evidence as he gave both sides a chance to state their case in the first court hearing in the case.

Berman noted that Brady's statistics were better in the second half of the Patriots 45-7 defeat of the Indianapolis Colts in the Jan. 18 AFC championship game than in the first half, when the balls were found to have been deflated.

The judge says: "You might say (Brady) got no better advantage from the under-inflation."


11:40 a.m.

U.S. District Judge Richard Berman says he thinks there are varying strengths to both sides in the argument over whether the NFL was justified in suspending Tom Brady four games in the "Deflategate" scandal.

Berman said Wednesday at the start of a hearing in federal court that he has not determined in his own mind who will prevail between Brady and the players' union or the league and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Berman spoke before letting a lawyer for each side state their arguments.

NFL lawyer Daniel Nash says the collective bargaining agreement with the players gives the NFL commissioner authority and the responsibility to protect the integrity of the game, including imposing suspensions.


11:30 a.m.

U.S. District Judge Richard Berman says the legal dispute in "Deflategate" isn't typically the kind of case to go to trial. He says similar cases are usually resolved by a judge if they are not settled.

Berman told NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady on Wednesday that while similar civil cases generally take about two years to resolve: "I think it's fair to say nobody here today wants to wait that long."


11:25 a.m.

An initial hearing has begun in federal court to decide whether NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was justified in suspending New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady four games for using underinflated footballs in the AFC championship game last season.

U.S. District Judge Richard Berman started the hearing Wednesday after meeting separately with Goodell and Brady with their lawyers.

Brady and Goodell each stood up and introduced themselves to the judge in open court, while their lawyers also introduced themselves.

Goodell and the league are arguing that the punishment was justified under the current players' contract. Brady and the players' union disagree.


10:45 a.m.

U.S. District Judge Richard Berman is meeting individually in his robing room with the sides in the scandal known as "Deflategate."

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league's lawyers met with Berman on Wednesday morning for about 15 minutes before the start of a scheduled court hearing in Manhattan.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady sat and waited with five lawyers at a long table, then went in to meet with Berman after Goodell was finished.

Berman had urged the sides to try to reach a settlement before the hearing, a message he reiterated Tuesday when he pressured the sides for 11th-hour talks.


10:15 a.m.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell have arrived at a courthouse in Manhattan for a hearing in their ongoing dispute over underinflated footballs.

Goodell was greeted Wednesday by a smattering of boos as he walked in. Four minutes later, Brady arrived flanked by four security guards. Both men went through a security sweep like everyone else going to court.

Dozens of fans and journalists waited for two of the NFL's most famous faces at the front entrance of the courthouse, including some wearing deflated football hats they were hoping to sell.

The court hearing is the first since the league and Brady with the NFL players' union traded filings in the scandal known as "Deflategate," a dispute over whether Goodell was justified in suspending Brady four games for his role in using underinflated footballs during the AFC championship game in January.

The league is asking U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman to declare it followed its players' contract properly when it punished Brady.


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(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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