News

Judge considers gag order in Hernandez murder case

Judge considers gag order in Hernandez murder case

MURDER TRIAL: A judge is considering issuing a gag order in the murder trial of former NFL star Aaron Hernandez. Photo: Associated Press

By Daniel Lovering

FALL RIVER, Massachusetts (Reuters) – A Massachusetts judge said on Monday she would consider a request by lawyers defending former National Football League star Aaron Hernandez that she issue a gag order preventing leaks about the high-profile murder case.

Judge Susan Garsh asked attorneys to submit proposed media guidelines after an attorney for Hernandez complained about “prejudicial” reports that had surfaced in the press quoting unnamed law enforcement officials.

Hernandez, 24, was charged in the fatal shooting of his friend, Odin Lloyd, in an industrial area near his home in North Attleborough, Massachusetts.

The former New England Patriots tight, who had a $41 million contract when he was arrested, pleaded not guilty to murder and weapons-related charges and is being held in Bristol County Jail while awaiting trial. A handcuffed Hernandez was led into the Fall River Superior Court hearing on Monday.

Prosecutors denied the accusation that law enforcement officials were guilty of leaking information about the case to the press.

“Their suggestion that we have moles out there leaking information is factually not true,” Assistant District Attorney William McCauley said. “We are playing fair.”

The arguments came after the judge declined to issue a gag order in October prohibiting lawyers involved in the case from speaking about it publicly.

But she reminded prosecutors and defense attorneys at the time that Massachusetts trial rules still placed significant limits on their public statements about an ongoing criminal proceeding.

Prosecutors say Hernandez summoned Lloyd to his home and drove him, along with friends Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace, to the isolated area where Hernandez shot Lloyd five times.

The two men had argued at a nightclub a few nights before the shooting because Lloyd, 27, had been speaking with people Hernandez disliked, prosecutors say.

Hernandez’s attorneys have said the case against him is weak and circumstantial. Investigators have not presented the gun Hernandez is alleged to have used in the killing.

Last week, Lloyd’s mother filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Hernandez that seeks to block a payment of more than $3.25 million his former NFL union contends he is owed. A judge put a hold on his $1.26 million mansion while the suit is pending.

Garsh scheduled a hearing on the gag order for February 5, 2014.

(Editing by Edith Honan, Bernadette Baum and Andrew Hay)

Recent Headlines

in Local

Durbin Introduces Bill to End Cuban Travel Ban

durbin

The travel ban has been in effect since 1960, ostensibly as a way to prevent Americans from supporting the Castro communist regime.

in Local

Lincoln Funeral Reenactment Could Be Economic Boon

lincoln

As Springfield prepares for the re-enactment of Abraham Lincoln's funeral in May, officials say the 150th anniversary could be an economic windfall for the city.

in Local

Suspect in Wednesday Shooting Arrested

KATRELL MORRIS

Springfield Police have arrested the man they believe is responsible for a non-fatal shooting near King and Stuart earlier this week.

in Local

Springfield Declares Snow Emergency, 5-7″ Expected

Updated
winter travel

The City of Springfield has declared a snow emergency ahead of this weekend's weather.

in Local

Springfield PD Plans Sunday Saturation Patrols

springfield_police_2

Drinking and driving in Springfield is a bad idea every weekend, but it'll be especially bad this weekend as area agencies prepare for Super Bowl parties.