I've been in civil and criminal court many times but that doesn't make me a lawyer so I'm going to ask the benevolent judges that sit in session on the huddle...
Two parties agreeing on a settlement (with no proof yet that they did) means fug all in a criminal case. Settlements are for civil cases. The DA can still press charges against Hardy, but the case was dismissed because their leading (only) witness has been a lying flake since before the bench trial even started so the DA knows that she can't be relied on to make a case?
Correct. A settlement would mean nothing in a criminal case. However, paying off the star witness of the prosecution to take a vacation and not be available to her lawyers or to the court means that they have no recourse but to rule against her in the proceedings. Hardy being able to buy himself a not guilty verdict means a hell of a lot more to his career than however much it cost him to have her disappear. Because if you'll remember, this "flake" made every single one of her other court dates before mysteriously dropping off the face of the earth. Not just chilling at home, either. She's making it damn sure that she isn't going to be found for this.
- blackcat PIE'd this