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)

Local Headlines

in Local

Steve King at Fair

king

Congressman Steve King was at the Clay County Fair...

in Local

Maurice Manure Spill

dnr1240

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is investigating a fish kill...

in Local

CCF Attendance

ccf1240

The 2014 Clay County Fair was another successful event...

in Local

Jack Hatch at the Fair

hatch

The democratic contender for the Iowa Governor's position was at the Clay County Fair...

in Local

Area Accident Reports

fatalaccident1240

Two are killed in a two vehicle accident...